Growing in spring…

There are many things growing at the Schleich house this spring…

I have been hesitant to share this pregnancy on social media, as our road to pregnancy was not easy. I am part of the astonishing up to 1 in 3 women who experience miscarriage and 1 in 8 couples that need fertility treatment. I wish it was talked about more. I wish I knew how to talk about it more. I wish it wasn’t a statistic that people are often shocked by. This baby is not only a rainbow baby, but also a miracle baby. After our loss last summer following fertility treatment, I finally knew that I had to try to harder to heal myself physically from hypothalamic amenorrhea and mentally from the stress that all women, mothers, wives, and humans put on themselves living in this fast-paced modern world. Miracles do happen. But sometimes they take a lot more work on top of prayers and patience. I didn’t know if I would be able to get pregnant without treatment, and I had some difficult lessons to learn first. I am happy to say this is an all natural pregnancy. And for those of you who I know this post might trigger or be hard to read if trying to conceive or going through treatment or grieving pregnancy loss: Please know that you are not alone. Reach out. Talk about it. I am here for you, as are countless other women and resources. I am praying for you and your miracle.

We look forward to growing our little family in several weeks. This baby girl is strong and already so loved! Cora cannot wait to meet her baby sister, Luna is planning on putting her herding skills to use, and Chris is researching his softball coaching strategies. I have a few FREE events going on these next two months before this little love arrives. I hope to see you there! I will also be posting some more FREE prenatal videos to my YouTube page the upcoming weeks now that I have quite the baby bump. If you know anyone who is interested please share or have them sign up for monthly updates click here.

Love & Light,

Kristin

Love yourself

“Love yourself.

Then forget it.

Then, love the world.” ~Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver’s wisdom is timeless, ageless, and strikingly difficult for me. I can find many things in the world to love: my family, a beautiful snowfall, the sound of birdsong, or kindness from a stranger. I also frequently forget things. Actually, I am shockingly good at forgetting things these days. Likely a result of becoming a mother and the many sleepless nights. But alas, the first part love yourself. Why is that so hard for me? Why is it so hard to love the only body I have ever lived in? The only mind I have ever thought with? The only soul that I have ever embodied?

Yoga and mindfulness has opened a gateway for me into finding more self love. To slow down and really listen to what my body needs. To quiet my mind to see the beautiful, clear water under the usually turbulent waves. To tap into that divine light that is present in all living beings. Jack Kornfield posted a mediation a few weeks ago on SoundCloud called “Breath Love In, Breath Love Out.” I have done it several times as part of my home practice. To paraphrase a section of his beautiful mediation: “Ask your heart what does it want as you go through this change of seasons…what does it need to be at its best? Let your heart tell you. Trust that you can know.” If you have twenty minutes, I highly recommend trying it as a savasana (laying down) or traditional mediation (sitting). I prefer the former these days.

During this long pandemic winter, I hope you can find time to cultivate some self love through any self care rituals that are meaningful to you. Self care is such a buzz word these days, but I truly believe it is an important aspect of finding balance in modern life. It can look radically different depending on the person and the time in that person’s life. It might be a hot bath. A long walk in the woods. A nap. A yoga practice. A 50 mile bike ride. Visiting with friends or family. Spending time alone. I have experienced all of these as self care at different times in my life.

I am offering a virtual practice on Sunday February 14th from 10-11am CT. It is Valentine’s Day, typically known as the Hallmark holiday for all things love and romance. I want to carve out a little space to share my practice of self love and self care through yoga and mindfulness. It will be poses and techniques that have worked for me, but I hope that you can find some space for deep inner listening, tools for quieting your mind, and can tap into the light that shines within you. Click here for more information.

Love & Light,

Kristin

Virtual Yoga Classes

I haven’t been very present on social media. I said good-bye to Instagram. I have not posted on Facebook since the summer. I have considered deleting it. The only thing keeping me tethered to the virtual reality is, in all honesty, Facebook Marketplace. Ok, just kidding. I honestly fear losing connection with the wonderful people I have met along my winding dharma path of life. So, here I am.

We are almost to a year of this new social order of quarantines, social distancing, closed gathering spaces, virtual school, virtual cocktail parties, virtual everything… I am getting exhausted of it all. I am sure most of the modern world is also experiencing the fatigue, especially healthcare workers. The past year has been hard for me, very hard. I speak for myself, but assume others feel this way as well, when I say this past year has been difficult personally, emotionally, socially, politically… just to list a few. I will admit there have been good moments. I have felt victoriously high on mountain peaks, but also left to lay alone and thirsty in a barren desert. All with out leaving my house.

It has been almost a year since I taught a group class. It has become clear I also fear virtual live yoga classes. I heard Brené Brown say on a podcast last week “when we get to the point we only do things that we’re already good at doing, we stop growing.” I have gotten several signs from the universe over the past few months, but I sometimes just need a good Brené Brown kick in the butt. So, here I am. Facing fears. Attempting something new. I am back posting on Facebook and back to teach, virtually.

I have a 4 week prenatal series starting in mid February. SIGN UP for the whole thing for a discount or pay per class. Please share with any pregnant women you may know! Beginners welcome. I am also offering privates and group privates for any student. You can have a solo session to focus on building a home practice, invite people in your COVID bubble to your living room, or join your best friend who is also pregnant (or not) and lives in California. It doesn’t matter where you live to join. Head over HERE for more information. Look for more classes and series coming soon: Friday Weekly Wind Down… De-Stress & Stretch…Postnatal Series…stay tuned.

I miss teaching. I miss hugs. I miss you. I hope you and your loved ones are well and safe.

Love & Light,

Kristin

At Home Yoga Videos

I have been thinking about writing a blog post for the last two months. I have sat down to write several times. I could not find the right words to say. I could not figure out what I wanted to say. Instead, I have made a few yoga videos.

Since I have last written, so much has happened. The cold winter has thawed into a beautiful spring. I have learned new terms including: social distancing, shelter in place,  and daily briefings. I have learned how to wear a face mask when going out in public. My baby is officially a toddler, complete with a daily dose of stubbornness coupled with her joyful sense of adventure during ordinary activities.

I am trying to learn from her. How can our daily walks be an adventure instead of a doldrum? How can each meal we prepare be a feast of gratitude? How can these four walls of our home be something to delight in rather than dread as another month begins of staying away from friends, loved ones, parks, and social gatherings? How can I find a spark of  joy everyday?

In the meantime, I have been dabbling with making yoga videos in my home. Below are the links to the four I have already made, and there are more on the way. They are not fancy. They are not high tech. They are simple. They are honest. They are filled with my wish that the viewer receives a little peace, calm, and love amidst this uncertain, unstable, and scary time.

Slow Flow Yoga 45 minutes:https://youtu.be/XR2lfXVyk64

Gentle Yoga 30 minutes: https://youtu.be/mtmak-7xKZQ

Yoga Basics 45 minutes: https://youtu.be/5sR3eeRnaxA

Prenatal Yoga 45 minutes: https://youtu.be/9jEG6faWFuU

Please reach out to me if you have feedback or a specific kind of video you would like to see. Or if you just want to talk, drink tea, sip on wine, discuss gardening, exchange poetry, or compare the finer notes of birdsong (virtually, of course). Isolation is not the way humans are hard wired to live. Finding joy is a daily practice, and it is not easy. We are all in this together. I would love to hear from you.

Peace, Love and Namaste,

Kristin

Winter Poems // Subbing

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I am longing for spring but still trying to find beauty in these deep winter days. Here are a couple of poems I have been working on. Yet another layer of my “being” practice. How do you instill a sense of the present tense and paying attention to the moment in your daily life? Yoga? Going for a walk or run? Breathing? Meditation? Writing?  Making music? Drinking tea? There are many ways to practice being present!

An another note: I am subbing one more Saturday 9:30am All Levels Yoga this week on February 8th at Willow Yoga in Arlington Heights! Hope to see you on the mat or perhaps outside drinking up the cold, crisp air.

Peace, Love and Namaste,

Kristin


A Sunny Day in Early February 

 

The winter overcast was so thick 

I could slice it with a butter knife

smooth and soft and edgeless and

endlessly peeling back the layers 

upon layers, grey upon grey, 

until finally the sky revealed itself

in early morning hues of pink turning 

blue so rich and almost warm I wanted to

drink in its beauty, bathe in its color, 

sing myself into a song of light 

that would last me until spring. 

 


Evergreen

 

Consider the pine, the conifer, the spruce

the fir, the holly, the juniper.

A tree always green even in the depths 

of the seemingly endless and bleak winter.

Ever optimistic, staying jolly all year

despite the rest of the neighborhood

falling into a state of utter loss.

They stand tall and proud

green needles against the cold sky

boughs outstretched as if to say

“Here I am. I am here. As I have always been.”

Hoping that they will be remembered.

their beauty not forgotten during the 

other seasons, when the evergreen 

fades into the background against 

nature’s other vibrant colors. 

 


Remember Summer I

 

I miss the sound of bird song

the chatter high in the trees

shrilling shrieking 

calling me home to

a place I have seem to forgotten

except for in dreams and wishes

the memory slipping through my fingers

like the ceaseless winter wind.

 

How I wish I knew what their conversations were all about:

The weather? A lover? The meaning of life? 

In the summer it is a constant hum in the background

a drone at which I go about my daily rituals and tasks.

But now, in the dead of winter, what I wouldn’t give for 

their endless noise, the thrilling laughter of 

the world coming alive again. 


 

2020 // Being

img_0436.jpgOne of one of my favorite yoga teachers posed the question during a guided mediation earlier this month: “are you a human being or a human doing?”

We live in a culture of that glorifies the need to stay busy. The need to always be doing something. And often it is doing more than one things at once: Listening to a podcast while cooking or cleaning. Doing a yoga pose and checking emails. Talking on the phone while running errands. Yes, I am guilty of all of these. I get the urge to always be doing something, and I get caught in a cycle of feeling guilty of I am not staying busy or doing enough. Even the few minutes spent waiting in line at the grocery store, somehow I find myself on my phone. I often get so caught up in the doing, the checking off of tasks, that I forget what it is like to just be. To be me. To just exist in my body. To be a human. Because at the end of the day, isn’t that what I am? What we all are? Human beings?

This year I want to BE. I find the best ways to BE include a sense of embodiment: going for walk or run outside, listening to my breathing, or practicing yoga. I want to notice each moment as it passes by. I want to appreciate each day as it follows its course through space and time. What are we teaching our future generations when we never have enough time? When we are always doing a thousand things at once, but never one thing with our full attention? When we are too busy to stop and look at the sunrise or sunset? When we don’t stop to smell the crisp scent of a winter storm on the wind?

John Denver asks these same questions in his lyrics: “Do you care what’s happening around you? Can your senses tell the changes when they come? Do you see yourself reflected in the seasons? Can you understand the need to carry on?” I want to answer with a resounding YES to each of these questions. I want to be a human BEING. Join me.

Happy New Year. Happy New Beginnings. Happy BEING.

Love & Light,
Kristin

 

Patience

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I wanted to share a favorite poem by the late and great Mary Oliver that I have been reciting in my head on repeat for the past few weeks. Patience is something I strive for, fail at, dream about, and occasionally achieve. This poem resonates on so many levels, and I am continually drawn to it in the late summer and early autumn. The world seems to speed up with back to school, sporting events, and the hustle towards holiday season. However, all we really need to do is slow is down, look around, and notice each moment “hardly move from one eternity to another.” Let us all try to savor these last few days of summer. Autumn will come, whether we are patient or not.


Patience

By: Mary Oliver

What is the good life now? Why,
look here, consider
the moon’s white crescent

rounding, slowly, over the half month to still another
perfect circle —

the shining eye
that lightens the hills,
that lays down the shadows

of the branches of the trees,
the summons the flowers
to open their sleepy faces and look up

into the heavens.
I used to hurry everywhere,
and leaped over the running creaks.

There wasn’t
time enough for all the wonderful things
I could think of to do

in a single day.  Patience
comes to the bones
before it takes root in the heart

as another good idea.
I say this
as I stand in the woods

and study the patterns
of the moon shadows,
or stroll down into the waters

that now, late summer, have also
caught the fever, and hardly move
from one eternity to another.


 

Peace, Love, and Namaste,

Kristin (& Cora and Luna)

Moving

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Moving is tough.

Especially with a baby.

But every fall there is a shift in the world. I can feel it in the cool air of the morning. I can feel it within my own body. Life has many seasons and I think back to past autumns: training for long distance races, preparing for dance performances, the back-to-school rush, and now, this. It feels radically different than my past several seasons, and part of me yearns for the past: the long Saturday morning runs, the anticipation of new students, and the preparation for new classes. Some of it will return, just in a different iteration. But part of me is eager for what this turns out to be.


Moving

 

The late afternoon shadows pour through the window 

of my dining room filled with boxes of memories. 

Boxes of things that we need. 

Or do we really need it all? Not the things.

The memories: new, old, and yet to be made.

 

My life is packaged and bubble wrapped

ready to be hauled off to yet another address.

Another house that I will slowly transform

into a home. A place of warmth, hope, and soft landings.

A place where my baby will learn to walk.

A place where I will learn to stand true. Be myself. 

Or at least, this transformation of myself.

All just merely human. Just desperately trying 

to grasp on to the mane of life that is galloping by. 

 

These days are begging me to slow down. Take it all in. 

These perfect afternoons of long shadows will not last.

Every box my daughter climbs up 

and every teetering step she takes

is one step closer to her walking out of our new home

and into her own. 


 

Love and light,

Kristin

 

PS I am subbing at Willow Yoga next Saturday, Sept 14th at 9:30am. I am back in my old stomping grounds, and I hope to see some familiar faces!

Inhale. Exhale.

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” Just take a deep breath. Calm down.”

“I can’t. I am trying and I can’t.”

This was the conversation with my husband on a Monday in late May. I was driving our screaming daughter back from her 6 month appointment where she had received several immunizations. He was driving himself to the ER in North Carolina because he had chest pain and difficulty breathing since his early morning flight. He sounded anxious. The mother and yogi in me could only reassure him remotely with a cue to breathe. Which, come to find out an hour later, was nearly impossible because his right lung had spontaneously collapsed.

It has been a month of learning new words and pronounciations: pneumothorax and pluerodesis. It has been long nights of wondering if  my baby is still breathing, and now wondering if my young, fit, and able bodied husband is still breathing. It seems so simple, breathing in and out. It is something I realized that I have taken for granted as it was whisked away from my husband in a matter of moments. It made me wonder: what else do I take for granted?

The sun rising and setting each day.

The two strong legs that I get out of bed to stand on each morning.

My heart as it continues to beat day in and day out.

My arms which can hold my sweet baby when she needs me.

My ears that can hear  music and laughter.

My eyes witnessing the seasons change, strangers smile, and beautiful landscapes.

And this list can go on and on… just as I assumed the breath of my beloved husband would go on and on until we were old and wrinkled. I have never been so grateful for modern medicine, which saved his life twice in one month. First, in North Carolina that Monday afternoon when he received his first chest tube. Then two weeks later when his lung collapsed a second time at home on a Thursday night. I was able to use my yoga skills more successfully this time to make him comfortable through the wee hours of the morning: -gentle words, restorative yoga, and all the props, We went to the ER the next day which included another chest tube, emergency surgery, and a four day hospital stay. I am happy to say that now after his follow up appointment, scheduled nearly a month to the day of his first lung collapse, he is recovering. He can take that deep breath I asked him to take when we were both driving our separate ways.

I have a new sense of reverence, awe, and gratitude for each inhale and exhale. Often I cue to my students at the end of my yoga classes to use their breathing throughout the day to bring a sense of calm and peace to challenging moments. Now. I see this as a gift that some people do not the luxury of experiencing.  To be able to behold and feel one’s own breath every moment is not just a way to regulate the nervous system, but I now consider it a way to see and feel the divine beauty that is life.

Peace, Love, and Namaste,

Kristin

 

After the Fall

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A few weeks ago, I headed out for a weekend run.  It was a damp, spring day that was slow to warm up. I was tired, but I knew how important it was to spend time by myself in the quiet solitude of the outdoors after a long week of mothering. Okay, I guess it wasn’t that quiet because I was running in the city.  And I wasn’t quite by myself as Luna was with me.  Alas, running is the time where I can reconnect with myself after I spend most of my week caring for my infant daughter. The line between self, mother, and other, child, often gets blurred in these early months of infancy.

I was shuffling down the street giving myself a pep talk that the first mile is always the hardest. I was heading to the large park across the river where I can let Luna run free. It is where I pretend we are running on a trail, in the woods, far away from the bustling Chicago streets and airplanes lining up to land at O’Hare. I was deciding where my route would take me that afternoon, when the sidewalk did a funny thing. It jumped up and grabbed me. Okay, maybe not, but that is what it felt like when I went skidding across the cement. In yoga class, I will make the cheesy metaphor that falling out of yoga poses and trying again is something that can translate into everyday life: work situations, personal goals, and relationships. Personally, I am always falling out of poses and trying again so I feel like this can ring true with my students on and off the mat. However, that afternoon, it just so happened that I was also literally falling in my everyday life.

I quickly assessed my damage. Road rash on my right leg. Right hand and elbow bleeding. Left hand fine, thanks to Luna’s leash. My ribs hurt and the wind was knocked out of me. I did the obligatory joint check. Ankles: check. Knees: check. Hips: Check. Elbow and wrists: Check. Breathing: . . . My eyes were brimming with tears, so I closed them and struggled to take a few deep yoga breaths. The yoga mat is much softer than the pavement. I was shaken and embarrassed, but luckily no one had seen me. I asked myself: Do I drag my tired body back home and nurse my wounds? Do I continue running and nurse my ego?

I looked over to Luna, who was sitting anxiously awaiting a rebuke. However, this time it was not her fault. People sometimes ask how I trained a such high energy dog to behave in an urban environment. I reply: it is the running, the walking, and the fetching. A tired dog is a good dog. Luna needed this run to be a good dog just as much I needed this run to be a good mother. So, I stood up. I kept running. I was hurting, but nothing that needed immediate attention. I slowly ran a shorter route. I quieted my ego that always wants me to run faster and further.

What I really want more than anything is to be a good mother to my daughter. I want to show her that it is okay to fall but you need to be able to stand up after you are down. It is okay to be tired, hurting, and sad, but you can also keep moving forward while feeling all those things. Resiliency is something I want her to embody and learn young. It is a skill I want her to hold close as she grows up in a world that will inevitably jump up like the sidewalk and knock her down. She is going to face more hardships than just falling during a regular weekend run. It is in the little moments that I want to teach by example.

I owe it to my mother and all the strong women who came before her. Thank you for picking me up when I was hurting, kissing my skinned knees, then putting me back on my bike. Thank you for falling off your skis, your horse, or just your own two feet and getting back up again. Thank you for teaching by example. Thank you for allowing me to join the long lineage of mothers and resilient daughters. I hope I won’t let you down.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there who are tired and falling, but are getting up again and never stop loving, loving, loving.

Love and light,

Kristin (and the good dog, Luna)