mindful practice

xfitinyogi 2014 in review

My lovely wife, Brute Yogi (aka Lisa) and me! :)

My lovely wife, Brute Yogi (aka Lisa) and me! ūüôā

I couldn’t resist checking out the stats for this past year on the xfitinyogi blog. ¬†Thanks to everyone who read and commented (either here, FaceBook or in personal messages), I truly appreciate your thoughts on what I put out in the world. ¬†It also helps me come up with other things to say, so keep it coming! ¬†It seems that the most popular was the post on whether or not I still CrossFit (here), views popped up from all over the globe (pretty cool!). ¬†The most comments came from the most recent post about my very short¬†adventure in the fire academy (here).

For those of you that do not know, I have two other blogs out there that aren’t publicized on FaceBook or Twitter (I don’t even have a personal FaceBook page any more, I just tag on to the wife’s, BruteYogi!). ¬†If your interested in reading my thoughts, adventures, journeys, etc about LGBTQ issues and trying to build a family I’ll gladly share the blogs with you before I start sharing them over social media, etc. ¬†They are still in their infancy trying to find their way through the blogosphere.

Feel free to let me know your thoughts on anything written or would like to see written. ¬†While some friends think I’m fairly mysterious (yes, BulletProofJenn – you!) I am an open book when engaged in converstation – ask away! ¬†If it’s not appropriate material for this blog I’ll link to the others. ¬†We’re all curious mother fuckers aren’t we ;).

Happy New Year!  May all of you have an amazing fulfilling successful start to the year that carries you through to your next PR, what ever that may be.  Namaste Strong Bitches!


Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,700 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 45 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


Firefighter Fail – Lesson in Detachment


My intention was to become a firefighter. ¬†Come March I’d walk with my academy mates to shake the hand of the fire chief moving from firefighter recruit to full fledged firefighter. ¬†Alas…that’s not what will happen. ¬†Firefighter will not be part of my resume.

CrossFit, strongman and weightlifting prepared me physically for the academy.  Upon entering the academy I felt physically strong and ready to put my body through the demands of training to become a firefighter.  The physical aspect of the academy was definitely a challenge and my body took a beating to say the least.  However, feeling like I was doing something physically was quite rewarding at the end of the day.  Looking back at what was accomplished in such a short amount of time Рrunning 2.5miles as a warm-up (who does that?!), for example, was a win in my book.

Yoga prepared me for the mental challenge of the academy, sort of. ¬†I have never been in the military, nor do I ever want to be. ¬†Imagine my surprise when faced with the militaristic style of the academy! ¬†To say I hated it would be an understatement. ¬†It was a complete shock to the system to also find out how intensely phobic I ¬†initially was of the SCBA. ¬†This all boils down to some fairly deep rooted patterns within me, namely the fear of loosing control or letting go. ¬†My very basic breath practice helped to get me through most of this, while the awareness of this pattern has pushed me to work with it so that I can hopefully one day move beyond the fear. ¬†Interestingly enough, I learned the power of meditation during this time as well. ¬†I used to be of the “this is too woo-woo” camp and was resistant to the idea. ¬†When faced with the challenges I encountered the week+ I was in the academy, meditation became a necessity to maintain presence.

The combination of all the above gave me the confidence to¬†quit¬†the academy. ¬†Crawling through the maze in full turnout gear on day 6 of the academy I realized that had that been an actual burning building I would’ve wanted no part in that whatsoever. ¬†When I exited the structure I pulled of my mask and told my instructor and Lieutenant that I was done and would not be continuing. ¬†That was¬†the last moment I would be a firefighter.


How do you identify?


Basically, this sums it up.

Basically, this sums it up.

How do you introduce yourself? ¬†Hi, I’m Anne-Marie.

Then what…do you go in to what you do for a paycheck? ¬†What you do for fun? ¬†Where you’re from? ¬†It could go something like this….I am a paramedic at the local childrens’ hospital. ¬†My wife and I live near the water with our four (yes, I said four) dogs and one cat. ¬†I have a younger sister that is mother to my two awesome nephews. ¬†My parents are still happily married going¬†on¬†40 years! ¬†I teach a Sunday Funday multi-level yoga class on Sundays at my wife’s yoga studio, The Space Above. ¬†Occasionally I can be found at the local strongman/powerlifting gym, Brute Strength¬†coaching a CrossFit class or working out with my wife and friends. I graduated with my bachelors in Philosophy and Film (photography) from Hollins University¬†almost 15 years ago (good lord, really?), but love school so much that I went back to school for¬†post baccalaureate studies because I thought I was going to medical school and decided to become a paramedic instead. ¬†I’ve had various jobs – outdoor education, server at a few restaurants, even a stint as a valet, a lifeguard, a dog trainer, retail sales, etc. ¬†When I was in junior high I met the girl who would become my first girlfriend. ¬†I played a ton of sports and was a collegiate equestrian (on the national team, thank you very much), and found the barbell in 2009 while going through a huge life transition and haven’t turned back (lifting weights is awesome)…………………………………

It looks like a resum√©, right?¬† That paragraph could go on for endless words, sentences, thoughts, ideas, but it doesn’t really tell you who I am – it tells you what I’ve done, what I’m doing, what I like, some of my experiences. ¬†Who I am, who you are, is a bit harder to answer, don’t you think? ¬†All of these details give the reader an idea of what I like to do as a person, what I enjoy and how I like to spend my time. ¬†You likely enjoy some of those things too, or know me from some of these experiences and that’s what has drawn you to my blog.

Who are you? ¬†No, really. ¬†Think about it. ¬†Without the things, without the clothing, without the hobbies, without the jobs, without the hashtags…who are you? ¬†Strip down to the barebones of your existence and see if you can discover who you are. ¬†We’re just the same, you and I…and the person next to you, across the street, two states away. ¬†All of these identities that we carry are just a mask making it easier to distinguish me from the person next to me in the coffee shop.

Baby Firefighter! ¬†If you’ve made it this far, then you now know what prompted me to jot this¬†deep thought¬†down. ¬†I’ve identified many different ways in my almost 37 years, and starting December 1st I’ll add the role of Firefighter to the¬†Who am I? resum√©. ¬†You know that phrase,¬†the only thing that is constant is change? ¬†This sums up this whole bit of identification, it’s always in flux. ¬†What’s important in that moment is what you’ll share with the people you meet. ¬†Tomorrow that first paragraph above will sound and look entirely different. ¬†Which also means this blog may look completely different as my experience as a firefighter paramedic emerges. ¬†How does this new role look for me? ¬†I don’t know. ¬†There are so many unknown variables that I’m preparing to encounter on this new journey.

Go with the flow, and embrace nakedness. ¬†Ok, so be naked when it’s appropriate, but don’t be afraid to share¬†YOU with the world. ¬†Embrace the change that you experience on a daily basis. ¬†Just because you think you are who you are today, tomorrow, hell even an hour from now, you may believe you’re something entirely different. ¬†Go with it.

Introduce yourself to me…who are you?

Be YOU! (This is the beautiful Tara, one of the teachers at The Space Above.)

Be YOU! (This is the beautiful Tara, one of the teachers at The Space Above.)


Day 28 – Addictive Habits



What habits do you have? ¬†Those habits that occur without you really even being consciously aware of…those are the habits I’m referring to. ¬†Those habits that¬†just happen on a regular basis without a second thought…or even sometimes without the first conscious thought. ¬†You know the ones I’m talking about, right?

I’m not talking about brushing your teeth, or taking a shower, or letting your dog out to pee. ¬†No, really think about those habits that you are used to doing, because you like them or at least you used to. ¬†I put out a FaceBook blast to see what some of my virtual friends habits were. ¬†I got some great responses! ¬†These are the habits I’m talking about:

  • I’m talking about the daily coffee in the morning.
  • Or the additional [insert coffee shop] [favorite coffee drink]¬†on the way to work.
  • The [insert favorite] drink after work, before bed.
  • The bowl of ice cream¬†after dinner (or favorite sweet).
  • That alotted daily Pepsi.
  • Taking one more look at your phone, for the 200 millionth time in 30 seconds.
  • Checking the mailbox even though you know there’s no mail.
  • Check the weather app every morning before even getting out of bed.
  • That list…all of those post-its….it just keeps growing.
  • Kissing your significant other¬†before you get out of bed, go to work, come home from work.
  • Look at the clock AGAIN to make sure you really have to get up.
  • Talking baby talk to your furry/scaly/etc family members.
  • That little countdown before you leave the house.

Those habits appear to have an addictive property to them, don’t they?¬†¬†What if you removed¬†that habit from your daily life for a period of time?

  1. Could you survive? ¬†(Yes, it’s pretty likely you could – you just may not want to.)
  2. Could you do it?  (Yup, again, you could do it, you just may not want to.)
  3. What would the outcome be?

Try this as an experiment: Find one of those habits that you’d be willing to give up for a minimum of 7 days. ¬†Don’t cheat! ¬†Really challenge yourself to give up something that you love. ¬†For example, I LOVE ice cream. ¬†Currently I have been abstaining for 28 days. ¬†I’m still alive, FYI. ¬†I don’t think I want to give up my wife kissing me before she gets out of bed, ever – and that statement alone implies that I am depending – or addicted – to it, doesn’t it? ¬†Maybe I should’ve used that as my example? ¬†Eh…

During this challenge¬†become aware of the thoughts that swirl through your head, the cravings and desires that pop up. ¬†Be honest with yourself about why this thing that you’ve given up is even a habit to begin with. ¬†Take the ice cream example – I love the flavor, I love the cool texture,¬†I love the creativity of flavors even though I tend to choose vanilla 9.999999999 times out of 10, I loved when my dad would grab my ice cream cone and clean it up so it didn’t drip on my hands (inevitably leaving less for me to consume). ¬†There are fond memories surrounding this habit of mine. ¬†Would they go away if I gave up ice cream? ¬†No. ¬†But I bet when I have some ice cream after this challenge is over it will be incredibly delicious with a new memory etched in the filing cabinet of my memory bank. ¬†Suddenly I’m craving ice cream.

You know the feeling...

You know the feeling…

If this habit is/was something that is/was truly something pleasurable and special to you after this hiatus I imagine it will have even more meaning to you when you decide to go back to it – or it’s time to let it go completely since it really wasn’t serving you any longer. ¬†Only you can decide that. ¬†I’d love to hear your experiences. ¬†Drop me a line in the comment section.

Today’s Total: 9 (lost my grain point)

Day 26 – Habits of Others



I love that quote ^^^^!!! ¬†As we gain more knowledge and¬†get better at things we sometimes forget what it is like to have started out as a beginner. ¬†In yoga we often refer to being in a beginner’s mind and/or a beginner’s body. ¬†We won’t ever know¬†everything and we’ll always find something to be a beginner at. ¬†This challenge has given all of us the opportunity to remind ourselves what it is like to live in a beginner mindset….if we allowed it. ¬†We may know how to eat, but we may have all forgotten how to¬†mindfully eat, how to be mindful about our activity level, what it was like to try new things, what a gift it is to share a meal with others, the gift of a like minded community reaching for a common goal….etc etc etc.

Our challenge master noted the other day that we were over 75% complete with the challenge leaving only one week to go.  She and I both posed a similar question: What are we likely to continue when the challenge is technically over?  What are we going to miss by not being on the challenge?  Here are some of the responses.

  • Maintaing the mindful perspective of the food we are actually consuming. ¬†If we briefly stop and ask ourselves what are we needing before we consume what is in front of us, it is a little bit easier to understand what it is actually fueling. ¬†Let’s take a bag of potato chips for example. ¬†Am I needing salt? ¬†Oil/fat? ¬†Cure boredom? ¬†Am I actually thirsty? ¬†Am I having a¬†hunger emergency and this is the fastest thing that I can consume? ¬†If I sit and pause for just a moment, is it the chips that I actually want? ¬†Is it the chips that will satisfy me or leave me wanting for more? ¬†Try it next time you sit down (or stand at the kitchen counter) to grab something to eat. ¬†Your answers may surprise you.
  • The community of 18 like minded people on a similar journey, sharing experiences on a private FaceBook group doesn’t have to end…but it will likely trail off as the challenge dissipates. ¬†That sense of belonging to something and sharing in similar struggles was a common theme amongst the posts this month. ¬†Everyone really liked sharing thoughts, recipes, PRs, ideas, struggles, laughter, new adventures, photos, etc on our page. ¬†We can all support each other, validate ideas, push each other to try something we may not have before and laugh together at our shortcomings. ¬†What’s stopping us from taking this virtual community in to the real¬†world?
  • This challenge has been a kickstart for a few participants who felt like they needed a little help regaining control over their overall health. ¬†Me included. ¬†The sense of responsibility and accountability in reporting our points daily has been just what a few people needed.

Habits that people would like to continue (in a more specific way):

  • Taking supplements everyday (most of us are CrossFitters, Strong(wo)men, Athletes)
  • Keeping up the hydration
  • No more coffee creamer
  • No drinking during the week – which equals no smoking for one participant (great job!)
  • Not going down the rabbit hole completely in terms of cheats – we’ll call this mindful cheats
  • Less caffeine

Seems like everyone that responded chose diet habits to stick with. ¬†I was surprised to not hear anything about being more active, trying something new, or continuing with the other habits we have chosen (like reading 20 minutes a day). ¬†I for one have really enjoyed writing these posts. ¬†So much so that I started two other blogs (yet to be published). ¬†Writing has always been something I’ve enjoyed – this challenge has been the little nudge to get me going again.

Today’s Points: 10 (Almost lost one point at our sushi date – that was a hard one to stay challenge compliant! ¬†Wowza!)