If you are reading this from outside of Northern Idaho, then there is something you should know about one of America’s “Top Ten Small Towns” …. we have WINTER. Sometimes it looks like this …
And sometimes it looks like this …
The winter rain that comes after large amounts of snowfall creates one big sloppy, frozen, snow berm bound, school cancelled landscape. I actually don’t mind the shoveling. When I lived on acreage in the country I would shovel paths into the woods. This winter I’ve dug out over and over my car, the truck, the deck, the walks and even shoveled a racetrack for Vita to express her extroverted puppiness.
It only took one wrong toss of water laden snow to send a message to the left lower back that all is not well. Something tweaked, not serious but relentlessly annoying. This recent twist has brought me to my yoga mat multiple times throughout the day as I did not quite feel ready for the hot yoga room. I am learning be a better listener when my body speaks, I am learning how to gently unlock the tension in my life and I am learning how to downward dog with dogs.
Vita sees me hit the mat and assumes “floor time = playtime” and immediately pounces into the Sun Salutation. She sits on my legs while I Cat/Cow and the restorative Child’s Pose is a clear signal to lick my face and nibble on my hair. The pinnacle of fun is Downward Facing Dog where the two dogs immediately see a perfect tent for wrestling under.
Today I will venture into a hot yoga class and work the muscles a little deeper and as always it will be an invigorating, peaceful experience and I will miss my furry yoga buddies when I Down Dog.
So the plan is that I will build much of my future tiny house myself, with help from my boys, friends and other skilled people who have offered their talents to the project. I know this is possible because I’ve seen other women in my stage of life successfully pull off their projects with great results. I do however, know my limits.
I do not love heights, and am not convinced it is a fear I wish to conquer, so the roof installation by a professional is probably money well spent. I would rather not burn the house down, so the expertise of an electrician friend will be much appreciated and I am sure there will be many other instances where I will not be too proud to ask for help or advice. In addition to books and online forums, YouTube has become a fantastic resource for every aspect of building a house on a trailer. A few of my favorite channels are Ana White, Life Inside A Box, and Tiny House, Giant Journey.
I also know my physical, emotional, and mental health need to be in tip top shape. So I am preparing myself for the rigors well in advance. I am working to get strong, primarily to avoid injury. There are a couple of local businesses I’d like to give a shout out to who are integral partners in creating greater strength and wellbeing and are a part of my tiny house journey.
My favorite place to get centered and sweat is at Sandpoint Hot Yoga. I decided in October of 2014 that I would actually start PRACTICING yoga and not just dabble in it when my body felt beat up. I had never done any hot yoga before, and to be honest, I truly hated it at first. Sometimes all I could focus on was how much longer will this last, or I’d think about what I had to do that day, or a breakfast burrito sure sounds good, or why does it have to be so hot, and dang … yoga is HARD.
I’ve learned to appreciate the different styles of several great teachers but one in particular has really changed my life. Nicole Murray who teaches Power Vinyasa classes has taken me farther than I believed I could go. She has taught me how to let go of my ego and more importantly how to breathe, or to remember to breathe, or to breathe in new ways. You would think that remembering to breathe wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but trust me, you forget and breathing makes all the difference.
Starting hot yoga was intimidating for me, I am not the typical lithe thin yoga body. I have boobs, and hips and a menopausal mid-section so stepping into the mirrored room with young bendy bodies didn’t exactly provoke overwhelming levels of confidence. But, I had made a commitment to keep showing up, so I did. Having a teacher that encouraged her class to try and fail and try again, gave me the encouragement to keep challenging my balance and my flexibility, and mental stamina. Nicole even appreciates the yogi that comes in and just lies on their mat in the heat for 65 minutes, because that is all they can give that day. I sweat, and I fall (sometimes in a spectacular manner with sound effects and all) and I keep on going. I listen and persevere with patience and acceptance and have made progress. Whether I actually achieve my desired poses, I now BELIEVE that I can, and that I can also build a house.
Knowing the materials for my house are HEAVY, I thought it couldn’t hurt to increase my strength so I started working with a trainer that I have known for many years. Missy Balison has me sweating buckets while I lift what feels like impossibly heavy weights and she asks for more burpees than can possibly be good for you (wink, wink!) Missy has a colorful studio, well equipped with a vast array of exercise equipment to keep things interesting. She is another instructor that creates an encouraging environment to explore your limits, not to mention the wealth of knowledge Missy possesses regarding all things nutrition and exercise science. I like the camaraderie of the other women who have also had to get dressed, tie their shoes and venture out into the still dark morning to tackle their own goals. If you are reading this from outside the Sandpoint area she also has an active online training program, you can check out her services here or on Facebook.
These teachers and the environments they create are one more building block for my future life that is forming and I want to say thank you with deep gratitude for the knowledge and passion for their craft that they share. Women empowering women is a beautiful thing.
Trekkin’ and Sweatin’ and appreciating the little things along the way …