Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Yoga for the Win


By: Susan Elliott

This year has brought its challenges. In December of last year, I lost my father to Covid-19. Starting the New Year was rough. We went through Christmas with an empty chair, and now we’ve started a new beginning with one less figure at our side. I guess when you lose someone close to you, everything feels out of control. You are, in essence living in the moment, going with the flow, and hoping you don’t drown.

It’s been a rough few months, but somewhere amidst the turmoil and tragedy, I had a moment of clarity. I enrolled in college with the hopes of finally finishing my degree at the University of Arkansas, and I started a journey toward my health. 

I’ve been struggling with my weight and all the issues that go with it for way too long. But, I decided on February 10 that it was time to quit talking about doing something about it and start doing it. I’d already curbed my eating habits and was primarily sugar-free. But, on the morning of February 10, I’d yet to start doing any exercise. 

When my kids were small, I practiced Hatha yoga. I loved it. I could hold poses. I was flexible, and I had a sense of calm. I guess that’s why I was drawn back to the practice of yoga. I’m not a small girl by any means, but I am determined. And, that morning, I downloaded the Yoga for Beginners App from the Play Store. I was excited to find that there were pre-programmed workouts, and there was the option to create two customizable workouts for free. I’ve been using the app ever since.

Today marks three months and ten days since I took the leap. I can’t begin to describe how much better I feel. I’m still a big girl. But, I no longer wear a size 24/26. I’m in a comfortable 16/18. It’s crazy, but I haven’t really lost any weight at all, but I have gained strength in my arms, more stamina, and a trimmer physique!

I love doing yoga every day. I enjoy challenging myself and experiencing the calm that comes with my breathing. If you’ve ever thought of starting yoga, maybe it’s time for you. The following are a few of my favorite yoga tools that I use daily. I hope this helps you find a place to start. 


I started with a Sivan Health and Fitness Yoga Set.   I had had this mat for a few years. (I’d been dreaming of beginning yoga again for a while). In fact, out of my original kit, I only had one block, the mat, and a strap left. My cats had destroyed the other block. But, it was what I needed to get started. I used that mat for the first month, but it is now stored with my workout equipment for the days that I have company who want to work out with me. (It does happen!)

Pretty soon, I realized that if I were going to do yoga every day but Sundays, I wanted a different mat. I wanted one that I thought was pretty. So, I found a jute mat that I really like, and I’ve been using it for the last two months. I took this mat on my trip to South Padre Island, where my daughter and I could practice on the beach. It was an amazing experience!!!! It holds up well outside, too. Somedays, I practice in the living room, but other days I practice out in the front yard. This mat is doing great in all sorts of terrain.


It didn’t take me long to realize I NEEDED yoga gloves. My hands get sweaty, and I need the extra grip. I have larger hands, and so the first pair of gloves I got didn’t work well for me. Don’t get me wrong; they are great gloves if your hands are small. I used them for about a month, but I had to cut the back of the fingers down the center so they would fit. They just weren’t a long-term option.

So, I invested in weight-lifting gloves.  They are a little more fitted and have a bit more padding. I’ve found that they are tacky enough to have a good grip on my mat, too. I currently wear a medium glove, and I love them!


I still use the yoga strap that came with my original kit, and I love it! It helps me get into poses I couldn’t easily get into. I wholeheartedly recommend using a strap when you start. Any yoga strap will do. I’ve been thinking about changing up my strap but haven’t done it yet. I’ve even thought about using the strap and adding resistance bands

Knee Pads

I use my knee pads for one pose every day, but without them, I would not be able to put the weight on my knees when I’m working out on the concrete floor. I worried that it might be a weird investment since I only use them for one pose, but after thinking about it, I do that pose at least six days a week, so in the end, I decided it was a good investment. If you’re worried about your knees, definitely get the knee pads. They are a lifesaver! 

At this point, I’m not using a lot of extra equipment for my workouts, but even so, I’ve been getting great results! Also, I run the app on my phone, and I turned the music off on the app. So, I work out every day using my Amazon music account. Somedays, I exercise to spa music, others Boney M , Heavy Metal, or Michael Buble. It just depends on what I’m in the mood for. 

I hope this gives you a starting point to jump off from. I’d love to hear from you, and I hope you reach all your dreams!


Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Song Writing Helps: The Rhyming Dictionary

An Article by Guest Author, Charles Pogue

Rhyming Dictionary

I suppose someone might call me old fashioned or maybe a bit narrow-minded when it comes to writing poetry. I got the idea long ago that if a verse doesn’t rhyme it is not a poem. 

I do not by any means intend to belittle those who write by meter or whatever the method is to construct a non-rhyming piece of poetry; it is a personal thing with me, you see. 

Maybe it has to do with my age of 70 years, that I’m such a stickler on the subject. I can’t remember in my early days reading a poem unless it followed a rhyme pattern. 

I even wrote the poem right below arguing if it does not rhyme it is not a poem.

 It’s Not A Poem 

It’s not a poem if it doesn’t have at the end of its long lines

Words which sounds so much alike folks say, hey it rhymes

It’s not a poem if it does not say when the one sought for departs

Hey there she goes or there he flees along with them my heart

It’s not a poem if it does not say today I have grown rich

Without a revelation is it oil or gold just which

It’s not a poem should there be where the readers all have heard

A lonely line all by itself without a rhyming word

How to Find Rhyming Words

Now one may be asking, how much time does a fellow like me have to spend finding words which rhyme? It once took a long time, now it takes none at all because I no longer come up with the rhymes out of my head, but out of a book. What book? The Complete Rhyming Dictionary, edited by Clement Wood.

Not only is this book the best known and highest regarded compilation of rhymes, it covers the techniques of versification divisions of poetry and hose of other subjects dealing with the poetry writing process.

When it comes to the rhyming portion of the book it goes into last syllable rhymes, double syllable rhymes, double rhymes, as well as vowel accent. Why did I search and find this rhyming dictionary? 

Well, I still write poetry, but more decades ago than I will not admit to at the present, I added songwriting to my writing activity. I have some poems which I also turned into songs. Currently, I have written over 4,300 songs. When one writes that many compilations a dictionary of rhymes is an indispensable help.

The Complete Rhyming Dictionary was first published in 1936 by Doubleday. Because it became so popular and remains so presently, and since it is probably the most comprehensive book of its kind, it has been republished several times and is well deserving to be so treated.

Do you write poetry or songs? If so, Clement Wood's The Complete Rhyming Dictionary might be just what you need.