Category Archives: 28in28

#365yoga Day 130: Catch the Wind

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I have insomnia.  I’ve struggled with it off and on for years and it is a miserable experience.  I fall asleep fairly easily, but never stay asleep long.  I usually awaken around 2 or 3 in the morning and them am up until at least 5:30 or 6. I have tried everything, and am decidedly *not* asking for your suggestions or recommendations, but I bring it up in order to explain that, after being up since 3:oo, I finally fell asleep at 5:10 only have to my alarm go off at 5:30.  YIKES.

Why was I up at 5:30? Because I now teach yoga at 7:00 on Tuesday mornings.  It’s important to me that I get to the studio at least 20 minutes before class so that I can leave my “stuff” at the door, settle in, do office work so it’s not hanging over my head, get music playing, etc.  I pulled into the parking lot this morning and, I have to admit, was not really feeling it.  My eyes were so puffy I could barely see, I didn’t feel focused or centered, and I had no real idea of where the class was going to go.  Regardless, I walked in, set some music playing, and opened the rolling doors that lead to the deck.  The breeze started to blow and the birds started to sing and students arrived.

I started class inside facing the deck, but couldn’t stay in there very long.  I just had to move outside, so I did.  After a few minutes of me teaching outside while the students were inside (it’s not as strange as it sounds, it worked,) I suggested that everyone join me on the mat.  I assumed that they would just follow me, but I was wrong. I shouldn’t be surprised – there’s a huge number of people who have never practiced in open air.  Yoga Sol is out to change that, but I digress…  They did come outside and I felt like I had been transported to a movie set.  It is just that beautiful out there!

There is a special blessing that comes to yoga teachers: we get to watch people transform right before our eyes.  It happens in an instant.  One minute they are stressed and unsure and then the next minute they are in the moment, blissed out beyond belief. I saw that happen to everyone who laid out a mat today.  The breeze picked up and blew at just the right times, as if to serve as a reminder that Mother Earth was the first yogini.  The birds sang, the fragrance of the flowering trees floated delicately in the air, the sun gently warmed us, and it all just felt like magic!

Somehow, I was no longer fatigued, tired, foggy headed, or unclear.  I didn’t force it, I didn’t fake it – I just stepped into it.  Like the wind, you cannot catch your yoga, but you can be surrounded by it and let it carry you to joy and peace and hope and a better day.

Join me.  Roll out your mat under the sun. Flow with the trees, breathe with the birds. It is communion with your world and yourself, and it is beautiful.  I’ll see you on the deck.

Namaste

#28in28yoga wrap-up

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I cannot believe it’s the end of February already.  Seems like I was just sitting around thinking about ways to make the month pass more quickly and came up with the 28 in 28 challenge.  March starts Monday – how is that possible?

In the last 27 days, the light has come out.  It’s golden and warm(ish.)  Trees have buds on them and there are brave green heads poking up through the ground.  I awaken to the sound of birds every morning and the days are getting longer.  Spring, indeed, is coming.

I am going to say right here and now that I may have failed my own challenge.  I say, “May” because, to be honest, I’m not sure it was ever possible to fail at all.  I did not get on my mat every single day, although that was never part of the deal.  I teach several classes a week  and sometimes that means teaching as many as 3 a day. There are times when my body needs a rest.  So, on those days, I didn’t practice… asana.  I made it very clear that I didn’t expect everyone to practice asana every day, but somehow, I had that expectation of myself.  This is just one of the many lessons I learned this month (more on that later.)  While I didn’t always practice physical yoga, I look back on the month and realize that I did something yogic every day.  I sat.  I read.  I learned.  I listened.  I loved.  I laughed.  I explored myself and challenged long held beliefs that were, often, held for a long time simply because they’d been there forever.  An unexamined life and all that. 😉

Big things happened for me this month.  Yoga Sol opened (shout, Polly!)  I faced Sirsasana 1 head on.  I found a really cool way to bind balancing half-moon.  I finally “mastered” Dancer.  And maybe most surprisingly, I discovered that I hadn’t mastered Tadasana after all these years and then finally found my way to my perfect Mountain (although I have to work very hard every day to get  into an active Mountain and not fall back into my lazy standing there looking like a goober Mountain.)  I got a massive tattoo of my favorite mantra on my arm.  Big things.

HUGE things happened in the space between my ears.  Once I managed to get the hang of Sirsa 1, I started doing them every day.  LOVE Sirsa 1 now.  The day I got the key to Yoga Sol, however, I did my practice at home and had a full blown panic attack while preparing for Sirsa.  My heart raced, I felt like running away, I started to cry.  What the hell was going on?  I stayed with it, pushed through the fear (FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real) and made it up.  I held it for 2 minutes and then spent 15 minutes in Balasana crying my eyes out.  WTH?   I eventually started to talking to some of my yogi friends about it and they helped me to see that I was fearful of seeing things in a new way.  I was struggling with seeing myself as a successful yogini (Polly mentioned Yoga as my career which is everything I want, and yet also so real and grownup and … possible!)  Realizing that, talking about it, and working through it has made me stronger.  I still get a little shaky, but I get through it and I get up.  With that strength behind me, I had two classes at Yoga Sol on the schedule last week and will teach 3 this week.  I love it.  It’s beautiful, it’s sacred, it’s peaceful, it’s home.

Part of taking part in Yoga Sol meant that I had to quit teaching a class at the gym.  It was the Monday morning class that I never felt a connection with.  The room is challenging and the students had various levels of commitment.  It was hard to teach. Not nearly as hard, however, as quitting it.  I don’t do terribly well with confrontations and speaking up for my self worth and desires.  I had to continually remind myself that I wasn’t happy with that class and that I will be so much happier at Yoga Sol and, most importantly, I’m responsible for my own happiness.  Deciding to quit that class was the easy part.  Telling my boss was not so simple.  I wrote and rewrote several drafts and never felt comfortable with anything.  Eventually I ran a draft by my mentor and was told, “You don’t have to explain yourself.  Just say that you need to drop that class.  PERIOD.”  Gobsmacked, I was. I realized that 1) I have been looking to others for validation. 2) I placed other peoples’ opinions and needs above my own. 3) I don’t need to explain myself.  4) My needs are valid.  5) So are my wants.  WHO KNEW?

While I was riding that revolutionary train, my PC bit it.  A month or so ago I replaced the hard drive and, while it worked for a bit, the fact is that the sucker was doomed.  I broke the news to my husband: we’d need a new computer.   I have wanted a MacBook for years.  YEARS.  All of my computers have been PCs and they’ve all been desktops.  The idea of getting a laptop of any variety thrilled me to no end, but something was gnawing at my gut.  I’ve been saying, “next year” for a Mac for the last 5 years. All the “ah ha!” moments that came to me during 28in28 came all together in one BIG Ah ha! moment: every time I said, “Next year” I was really saying, “I’m not worth it.” :oo:  I was putting myself last if I was even considering myself at all!  What the hell?  The realization was nauseating and I admit to taking to my bed for awhile while processing that one.  When I got out from under the covers, I took a breath and ordered what I have wanted for years and years.  I’m happy to say that this post is being typed out on my own MacBook. (please excuse the editing – I am just now learning how to use the darling thing!)

Validation comes from SELF.  Check.

I am deserving.  Check.

I can work through fear.  Check.

I can do Sirsa 1.  Check.

I can rock Dancer. Check.

I am whole.  CHECK CHECK CHECK.

Om Namah Shivaya.

It has been an incredible journey and I’m so glad to have gone on it.  I didn’t fail.  I succeeded. Hell, I did more than succeed: I SOARED.  Thanks for coming on the journey with me. I am worthy.  I am valid.  I am capable. I am becoming.

Namaste

Warning – rampant blogging will ensue in 3, 2, …

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After years of being frustrated with my PCs (Elvis knows I went through a ton of them,) I finally followed my heart and converted to Mac.  Within 20 minutes of my new MacBook being delivered, I was despereately, hopelessly, embarrasingly in love with it.  You know, the “make out at stop lights an funerals” kind of desperately in love.  The ease!  The simplicity!  The … yeah, okay, I’ll stop there.

BUT

It means that I will be doing a lot more blogging.  I have  LOADS to blog about and, actually, the MacBook is a result of some serious YOGA stuff!  It is a direct result, in fact, of #28in28yoga!  This month of yoga has brought so much love and light to my life and … yeah, well, I’m going to write all about it very soon.  As soon as I figure out all the bells and whistles of my beloved new toy / bestfriend / celibate lover.

Write ON!

Day 11 of #28in28yoga (plus a little catch-up)

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YES, yes, 28 in28 is still going on!  Hard to believe it’s nearly half over!  I have practiced at least in one form each and every day and it’s making huge changes in my life.  I feel free.  I feel open.  I feel excitement and peace.

I taught two classes on Monday.  It was snowy and cold and the weather and roads were gross.  I nearly canceled class, but am so glad that I didn’t.  Attendance was down and I only had 3 students in my hot yoga class.  Usually small numbers make for a challenging class.  There energy often just isn’t there and it can be difficult to feel a flow, a connection, with everyone.  Monday night, however, my 3 students filled the room with light and love and it was a great class.  I’m finally getting over my anxiety about touching my students.  I don’t like to do big adjustments – there is still so much I have to learn before I feel comfortable with that, but there are times when a gentle hand can make the difference between a meh and an AH HA!  Helping folks reach a deeper pose is one of the best parts of this gig. And let us never discount the power of human touch.  Yoga is about unions and, by touch, we connect with each other powerfully.  YAY!

Tuesday I didn’t do much online, didn’t blog, didn’t do affirmations.  It was my 9th wedding anniversary and, thus, I was busy loving and being loved.  I did practice meditation and pratyahara as I did something I have long wanted to do – I added another tattoo to my body canvas.  OM Namah Shivaya OM.

Yes, it hurt.  Yes, it was worth it.

Yesterday I taught again.  I love teaching and Wednesday nights are often my favorite.  The people in the room are just alive and dedicated.  It’s a joy to see people reach and stretch and see the strength lying inside of themselves.  The peace that comes over people when practicing yoga is visually evident and it spreads and is addictive.  I knew that one of my students was having a very hard time yesterday.  She was in a place of emotional pain and stress.  I greeted her with a warm hug and felt her energy shift.  As she practiced, I could almost see a light building around her, a light of peace, love, and hope.  At the end of class, I hugged her again.  Her energy was totally different.  She said, “I had no idea I could feel so peaceful and content in a time like this.”  And that, my friends, is the power of yoga!

Today I will practice a nice and relaxed Yin yoga and maybe some restorative stuff.  I feel the need to OPEN, having been stretched to the max already it seems.

Stay tuned – big announcement coming SOON!

In praise of the home practice (Day 6 #28in28yoga)

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First things first: I didn’t blog about yesterday’s practice.  The truth of the matter is that there was very little to write about.  My practice yesterday was  a few minutes of stretching, a few minutes of sitting (meditation,) and some time learning a new chant.  I cannot get too crazy learning these chants.  I have to only give each new one a few minutes a day while learning it or it gets all kinds of crazy.  When I learned The Gayatri Mantra, I tried to learn it all at once and I ended up getting frustrated and mixing up parts until I had completely lost the beauty of it that drew me in in the first place.  So, little bit here and there.

Today’s practice, however, was a more traditional “roll out the mat, light the Nag Champa, make a sacred space” kind of practice.  I LOVE a home practice.  I encourage everyone to develop one.  There’s nothing like yoga at home (or in the yard, or in a park, or anywhere you happen to be.)  It can be *whatever* you want it to be!  When I teach a class, I feel it’s very important to have a certain flow.  It’s helpful to be consistent with my students so they somewhat know what to expect.  For example, in class it wouldn’t be very cool to stand up, do 1 sun salutation, and then tell everyone to do a drop back into wheel.  At home, however, it’s TOTALLY cool to do that.  It’s even cool to roll back up from said wheel and bend directly forward, plant your hands, and raise up into bakasana!  At least, it was really damn cool when I did that an hour ago.  I threw a few headstands into the middle of my practice.  I spent a long time in bound balancing half moon (my own little variation – I’m sure there’s a name for it somewhere) figuring out exactly what it means to be grounded into the center of my foot.  I then took the knowledge I gained from that and put it into play.  The result?  A completely different Vrksasana than I’ve ever had before.  Much more solid, balanced, centered, ROOTED.  I wasn’t rushed.  I didn’t need to explain anything or have anything explained to me.  I could try and try again or skip something all together. I  could switch up the music.  I could stay in Pigeon for a crazy long time. I could give myself two (!!!) Savasanas if I wanted to (I did.)  I could do ANYTHING .. and so can you if you just roll out your mat and let yourself explore.  There’s nothing like it in the whole world.

Day 6 has been amazing. Each day has brought me something more.  I’m so excited to see what comes in the next 22 days.  JAI!

And just for a little bonus, SAY HEY!  I LOVE YOU!

Turning my life upside down, Day 4 of #28in28yoga (explitives included)

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I’ve been having a bad day.  I woke up in a bad mood.  My kids have been driving me crazy.  I ran to 4 different stores looking for something that can only be purchased online.  My dog ate my lunch.  My husband is breathing stupidly.  Bad day, you dig?

There could be any number of reasons I’m not responding to these very minor and rather typical daily disruptions with grace and ease.  There are folks out there who would tell me that I need to know why I am responding the way that I am responding so that I can I change it.  I sometimes follow that train of thought.  I just as often, however, subscribe to the philosophy that sometimes I just have to be a bitch, throw a fit, and then throw it in the Fuck-it Bucket.  Today I’m falling into the later category.

One of the things I learned very early on in my yoga journey is that putting your heart above your head is a symbol of humility and can refresh your creative ability and compassionate awareness.  I learned that letting the blood and lymph flow from the bottom of myself to the top of myself is a reset button of sorts.  I also learned that if I want to change the way the world looks to me, I have to change the way I look at the world. Enter Salamba Sirsasana!

Silamba Sirsasana – Supported Headstand.  The King of Asanas.  A surefire way to change the way I look at things.  It takes courage, strength, calmness, balance, intention, and stillness.   It’s not always easy, but what is that is worth having?

Sirsasana and I have been having an interesting relationship.  When I was a child, I was a gymnast.  I competed throughout my state and held that innocent childhood belief that I would always be able to do the stuff I did then.  WRONGO!  Somewhere along the way, 22 years robbed me of my head and handstands. About a year ago, I started doing headstands again (and handstands against a wall.)  I found that I could quite easily go into Sirsasana 2 (tripod headstand,) but Sirsa 1 eluded me.  I could not get it for more than a few seconds.  I would roll backwards.  I needed to keep my knees tucked to chest.  I couldn’t do it … and it pissed me off.  How very yogic of me, right?  ugh

A few months ago, I was looking at some photos of a yogi friend of mine in Sirsasana and I noticed that he was much further forward on his crown than I was.  Not on his forehead or anything, but way up there. Hrmmmm.  I had been chewing on this little nugget of potential wisdom for weeks until today when my attitude was screaming at me to do something and I decided to give Sirsa 1 a go.  I doubled up my mat in the middle of the room, took off my socks, threw my forearms down on the mat, and found a sweet spot way up on my crown.  I breathed and took my time.  I tried kicking up.  I tried rolling up. I tried folding up.  And then, suddenly, when I stopped thinking about how to get up, I realized I was up!  When I started to get shakey, I hugged the muscles of my arms to the bones and shot my shoulder blades down (up in this case) my back giving more space between my shoulders and my ears.  I breathed and realized that I was exhaling fear and inhaling courage.  I was releasing the fear of injury, the fear of being a bad mother, the fear of a long a successful marriage (I have issues. Moving on…,) fear of not being enough, fear of failing, fear of succeeding, fear of aging, fear of new things, fear of being stuck with old things, fear of fear!  I stayed there for 4 long minutes.  HOT DAMN!

I gently folded down and stayed in Balasana for quite some time.  I was shaking in my arms, my toes, my fingers.  I don’t know if I was shaking for the exertion, the exhilaration, the release, or all of the above.  Probably all of above.  It didn’t matter.  It still doesn’t matter.  I DID IT.  And I loved it. And I learned from it.  And now, I’m no longer scared of it.  YES!

I’m not feeling nearly as pissy now as I was earlier today.  Things are kind of rolling right on off my shoulders.  I’m feeling a little more Zen, a little more balanced, and a hell of a lot stronger.  The world looks a bit different now and it’s all because I turned it upside down.

Namaste