Monday, December 28, 2015

Always Love

I have been thinking about healing
and yoga
and love...
Always love
I cannot practice without intention
I set an intention before every practice
and most of the time it is simply to be present with my breath
From the beginning
I needed change
and devotion
and love
I found all of those things through yoga
but also within myself
Self love has been the most difficult
but I am learning 
I want everyone to love me...
Today my friends son told me he didn't like me
He is five
and yesterday he liked me just fine
During savasana
all of a sudden my eyes flew open
wondering why he didn't like me! 
I'm the child sometimes...
It is normal to seek
to search
and to reach in all directions
How exactly does this work?
I want to do it right...
to be perfect
but perfect is never how we grow
and so it works best when I find compassion for my weaknesses
grace in the midst of making mistakes
and love for all that I am
At times I struggle to breathe...
As a child I had severe asthma
which carried over until my early twenties 
I would have nightmares about suffocating
or being buried alive
I would also have dreams where I couldn't move
or speak
I was trapped in silence
but no more...
I have a voice 
I have a strong body
this breath
and always 

Angela Minard 2015©

Artwork by~ Amanda Cass

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Dreams Come True

*I wrote this last week~ 

It is the first day of winter break, and I had planned on sleeping in, but my mind didn't allow that to happen. I am amazed at not only the amount, but the quick pace of single thoughts that run through my head. They come so rapidly that I can't even keep up, and I recognize that quite often these racing thoughts eventually lead to a panic attack. It is like my brain can only take so much before it short circuits and I figuratively explode. My therapist suspects that my panic attacks are triggered by bottled up anger. I'm not sure, or maybe I don't like to admit that I get angry. I don't feel angry at the moment, but these incessant thoughts cause anxiety. 
Writing helps, and so here I am...
I try to distract myself. I have painted my nails, called my brother, dyed my hair. I will go to yoga, I'm having dinner with friends later, and hopefully the thoughts will slow down. I'm happy to have some time away from work, and although I will still be teaching yoga, having space during the day will be good, or at least I think it will be good!

*It has been good~ 

I am proud of how I am using the tools I have learned throughout the years. I haven't had any panic attacks. Down time can be dangerous for me, but I haven't had much free time. I still taught yoga, and so even when I wasn't actually teaching, I was planning my classes. I taught a Christmas Eve Yin class, and I wanted so much for it to feel special. The best part was that all of my teachers were there to take class, and that meant the world to me. It was a full house. I counted forty eight students, and my husband was counted among them. He is also one of my teachers and greatest supports. I left the studio that morning walking on air, completely filled with joy that I am blessed to be able to share what I love. My boys were all home for Christmas. I baked biscotti with Roman, who helped me roll them into balls, and ice them. I double my Nonni's recipe, so it is a gigantic amount of cookies! We spent Christmas day with Dave's family, and then came home. Dave and I watched Elf, and napped under the electric blanket until bed time. It was perfect! I don't usually teach at all on Saturday's, but my sweet teacher/friend Emily, who also owns the studio, was not feeling well, so I subbed her class this morning. After class, I met one of my dearest friends who was only in town for the day for lunch, and now I'm home again, planning tomorrow's classes. How is this my life? My friend, Jackie reminded me of a couple of years ago when I told her my dream of teaching yoga. She also reminded me that I didn't think it would actually happen. It happened, and dreams really do come true! 

My next dream is to figure out how to publish my writing in book form. I have many ideas, but I'm not sure of the direction it will take. 
Stay tuned, and always keep dreaming! 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015



You pry my fingers
one by one
the pitch of your voice
steady and calm
as you flatly explain your departure
and now
after all of these years
it is all I can do to

Angela Minard 2015©

Monday, December 21, 2015



We are often reborn in moments, instead of a singular, spectacular explosion
As long as we exist in this universe, we are unfinished;
A miraculous piece of artwork in progress

You are not broken, flawed, or shattered
You begin, again and again, forever and always
You are brand new now, and will be brand new with your next breath
Each morning 
as you open your eyes
you have a choice
You can repeat yesterday
or you can decide to make a fresh start
not everyday
 but every moment

We are here together
sharing this common ground for reasons that we may never understand
and as I breathe out 
you breathe in 
We are one
forever reborn

Angela Minard 2015©

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Processing Time

I have worked with kiddos with autism for over fifteen years, as well as having my own son with autism. I'm used to waiting a longer amount of time for a response than what is considered average. People with developmental disabilities, as well as individuals with brain injuries have a longer processing time, so I wait...
I'm just now realizing that I have a longer than average processing time when it comes to my emotions. 
Feelings are unlabeled because I have no idea in the moment what is happening. 
I store my emotions like a chipmunk storing nuts for the winter, and then they explode before I even have a chance to make much sense of them. 
This is why I have a therapist to help me sort through the mess of feelings that confound and confuse me on an almost daily basis. 
Laughter, and joy are easier to accept, but sadness and anger I have labeled as bad, and off limits, so I do all kinds of inappropriate things with those emotions in particular. 
It is where my eating disorder came from, as well as self harm and dissociation. 
I turn my anger and sadness in the only direction I know, which is at myself. 
I have been taught some great skills from my treatment team, as well as from my yoga teachers, but they don't always work, and that is frustrating. 
Nothing is full proof, and when my tools fail me, I feel like a failure. 
My therapist tells me,"feeling is not being," and so feeling like a failure does not mean that I am a failure. 
Tonight I worked all day, went to therapy, and taught two yoga classes. 
I didn't have time to check in or acknowledge my feelings, but they still caught up with me. 
I came home, sat down, took a few deep breaths, and gahhhh...
I'm crying! 
Damn, I'm sad, happy, tired, and fucking confused...
Delayed emotional reaction in progress! 
I can't even get comfort when I need it most of the time, because when it hits me that I need it, there is no one around. 
It is no wonder that so often I feel alone...
I am not alone. 
I am loved. 
I am loved. 
I am loved. 
It just takes me awhile to feel it...

Friday, December 11, 2015

She is Good

I do not understand life, or why things happen the way they do. I do believe that the people and events in our lives are put in our path to guide us and to teach us if we can allow that to happen. Life is also random, and no one deserves tragedy, pain, or suffering to befall them. We do not always get what we deserve. Sometimes we get more, and sometimes we get less, and here is where I used to tell my kids, "You get what you get, and you don't throw a fit." We blame ourselves in order to make sense of trauma, to give ourselves a false sense of control, thinking that if we are "good" we can prevent further suffering. My grown up mind understands this, but the wounded little girl inside is still working on figuring it out. I wasn't raped because of anything I did or didn't do, and even now, if someone hurts me, it isn't because I am flawed. It also isn't always because they are flawed, but simply because we are all human beings, and most of us are trying to do the best we can at the time with whatever resources are available. Note that I used the word always, because yes, my rapists were flawed in a big way, but what happened was that I carried that trauma into every other interaction I had in my life, blaming myself, hating myself, and feeling unworthy and unlovable. I'm not ruined because of the people who abused me. Sadly, for much of my life, I thought I was irreparably damaged, and because I hid what happened, I spent years terrified, and hiding in shame. It takes work to undo the stories we tell ourselves, but we can write new stories. I easily take the blame when something goes wrong because it is a deeply ingrained groove in my record, and sometimes the record skips, and I get stuck. I have also learned to create new grooves. Nothing complicated. "I am good, I am good, I am good..."  I invite good things, because I deserve good things. If bad things happen though, that does not mean I deserve them! This is a difficult concept for me because I get stuck in the brain of a child who was traumatized, and that is how I made sense of it all. Even now, when someone hurts me, I automatically try to figure out what I did wrong, and how to prevent it in the future. It is a knee jerk reaction, but then I step back, and rewrite the story. I'm guessing that eventually, I will not jump to conclusions, but at least I'm learning to separate my child self from my adult self. I'm also learning to love that child-like self. 
She is good...

Artwork by Amanda Cass

Thursday, December 3, 2015


The main reason that I started writing this blog was to sort out my thoughts and emotions throughout my recovery process. The reasons that I continue are not only for those same reasons, but also because I have learned that it is important to myself and others, to be vulnerable. I am as honest as I can be here, because we all share some of the same hopes, fears, and basic human tendencies. When I realized I wasn't alone, the world was not nearly as frightening. I'm recovered from anorexia, but that certainly doesn't mean that I don't still struggle with my body image. I do. I'm in the public eye every day as a yoga teacher, and I'm not the hard bodied, lean yoga teacher. I'm the short, curvy yoga teacher, with extra bits here and there, and most days, that is okay. It never matters once I step my feet on my yoga mat because for fuck's sake, it doesn't matter! The days that it does matter, I need to take a few steps back, and ask myself why. It is never about my weight. It is usually about avoiding a feeling, or a myriad of feelings, which brings me to this...

My sweet friend Monica, is someone I met at Darling Yoga. She is a massage therapist, yogi, and amazing photographer. She asked if she could take some yoga photographs of me, and I froze! I admire her work, the photographs she has taken of our friends are beautiful, but I wasn't sure about the idea for me personally. It is not that I think I'm ugly. I take a selfie here and there, but I'm the one in control. I can delete, and I never take body shots. That is sad, isn't it?! I avoid the mirror at all costs in the studio. When I'm moving through my practice, I feel beautiful. Flowing with the rhythm of my breath is like dancing with the most graceful partner who anticipates your every move. It is never wrong. It is yoga...union...

Monica is such a sweet, and gentle soul, but I was nervous. I barely remember the ride to our location, and still don't know where we went. It was a beautiful fall day, with a touch of crispness to the air. I was giddy and flighty, but as soon as I would settle into a posture and breathe, it was yoga; my home, where I am safe. We laughed together, and I do remember that the location had huge houses that looked like English mansions. It was more fun than I thought it would be, but then the fear of actually seeing the finished product was terrifying! I know only too well how critical I am of every perceived flaw. I am strong in my recovery, but I still remember...
I am fearful of anything shaking my foundation, and what if I was disgusted by my extra bits? What if it sent me into starvation mode? What if I disappointed Monica by not being happy with her photographs? Every time she would see me, she would reassure me. 
"You need to see what we all see when you practice. You are beautiful." 

Last weekend, she texted me to let me know she had sent me the link to her website to look at the photographs. A half hour later she texted me back, wondering, but I hadn't looked. I was scared! I went to the studio to practice, and she was there after class with her laptop. Beaming, she said, "This one is my favorite!" It also happened to be my favorite pose. Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana~Mermaid pose. I remember the light, the trees, and how the breeze felt on my skin. It was beautiful because I felt beautiful. Again, it had nothing to do with what I looked like, but how I felt. It was exactly like what I'm always telling my students. "Feel the pose from the inside out, because that is when you know." When you allow yourself to feel, you know everything! 

Thank you Monica, for the gift of knowing, and for making it comfortable, sweet, and painless. I love you.