Thursday, April 29, 2010
Often times the most important asana (pose or posture) of the day is savasana (resting pose). For the first 24 years of my life I thought resting was nothing more than a punishment. Only when sick does one choose to lie down in the middle of their day and rest!
As an interested student of yoga I decided to try and open up around this idea of mandatory resting at the end of each yoga class. In my world it was basically five to ten minutes of totally forced space out time. I felt strange lying so still and quiet. The buzz of New York pulsed through me as I tried to ignore the classic jack hammers outside and honking horns aplenty. I would have pretend conversations and food fantasies for each one of those minutes allocated towards 'resting'....Not even the most soothing music could help me escape from the noise outside on the streets of NYC and the noise inside my head... I would count my breaths, I would tap my fingers, I would really try!! And nothing worked.... until I stopped trying. It was only a matter of time before I was able to find deep satisfaction in savasana. Feeling my body become heavy, my breath quiet. The energy of the outside world became white noise and cradled me into deeper rest. With this small amount of rest I was able to find space in my mind, almost a re-boot of my brain and body. Savasana was genius.
So here I am, Thursday evening, eighteen yoga classes taught so far since Monday and I am planning for tomorrow a full day around savasana. I will take a rest between each class. The phone will be off, my computer un-plugged. No, I will not answer the door if you knock, and yes, I will be lying on my floor doing absolutely nothing.
Monday, April 26, 2010
This was just sent to me from a dear friend and teacher.... thanks Heather! Please read slowly, maybe a few times... Enjoy
"We have been put into life as into the element we most accord with, and we have, moreover, through thousands of years of adaptation, come to resemble this life so greatly that when we hold still, through a fortunate mimicry we can hardly be differentiated from everything around us. We have no reason to harbor any mistrust against our world, for it is not against us. If it has terrors, they are our terrors; if it has abysses, these abysses belong to us; if there are dangers, we must try to love them. And if only we arrange our life in accordance with the principle which tells us that we must always trust in the difficult, then what now appears to us as the most alien will become our most intimate and trusted experience. How could we forget those ancient myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love."--Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet, #8, translation by Stephen Mitchell
"Usually we think that brave people have no fear. The truth is that they are intimate with fear." -Pema Chodron as written in 'When Things Fall Apart'
How do we stop and face the things in life that completely freak us out? There are many methods in which we distract ourselves from facing pain and discomfort as there are just as many platforms in which to learn to see and move through them. In the past I personally would love to become as busy as humanly possible so I could successfully ignore the signals my body would send as to not have to deal with the fear of a circumstance, feeling, or some form of reality. The faster I moved the less I felt.
In 2000 I stepped into Om Yoga Center in NYC and began to learn how to slow down. I was taught through the asanas (postures) of yoga to create space, to hold the space, and then let it go. When I use the word 'space', I mean the space in my physical body, which is where I began to face myself first. Feeling a stretch, sitting in the stretch, and then releasing it. This relationship that I was slowly creating between my mind and my body by stepping onto my yoga mat every afternoon became my time to get very close to ME.... or God, or Nature, or whatever you like to call It.
So I think today I will come to my mat! With some fear around my freshly healed back I will practice slowing down and getting close, uncomfortably close.
Monday, April 19, 2010
What is freedom? Hmmm... Ok.... here is my current understanding.
I spent the last five days learning about freedom in Joshua Tree on a rock climbing trip with two of the most important people in my life. Both great teachers to me in their own respects. Due to my current physical state (the DARN back injury) I was not able to rock climb with them, leaving me to lay around watching my closest friends test their own bodies and minds, pull themselves up hundreds of feet, and build strength and courage together. I was immediately jealous, so bummed, I was totally jailed by my body, left to be the hurt bird resting on the ground. GROSS. I wanted to be a part of the fun! I wanted to pull myself through the cracks! I wanted to feel the love!
I had a teacher in NYC tell me that freedom is the only worthy goal in life and the only way to feel free is to disregard things that sit beyond our own control. I love how wisdom can creep in and give us perspective if we are open to it, something my yoga practice has taught me throughout the years. Knowing clearly that my back was still healing and I was in no condition to be hanging on rocks, I decided to not fight reality.... reality always wins. I could either take the seat as a broken bird with a bad attitude feeling caged within my limitations, or I could take the seat as a warrior, and practice indifference to my external condition. As I watched my beautiful friends maneuver their bodies through challenging spots on the rocks, hanging on only by their agility and skill to leverage their body weight on merely nothing, it hit me... I felt their strength, I felt the fun, I felt their experience, and I ultimately felt the love of the climb through the joy of my friends. The shackles came off and my eyes opened to the experience of the others around me. Their joy became my own. My joy for them fueled their courage. I felt so free.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
".... to be ordinary, because being ordinary in and of itself is an expression of divinity; the truth of one's real self can be discovered through the pathway of everyday life. The commonplace and God aren't distinct." -David R. Hawkins as written in Power Vs. Force
Off to the grocery store.....
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
My lesson in the present moment is to listen... taught to me most recently through my spine.
Last week in my yoga practice, while enjoying the new space in my body that I have so diligently worked on for the past 10 years, I ignored the whispers and indicators that I was moving too deep and rotated my sacrum, impinging my sciatic nerve. For those of you who are new to the body talk just know that it HURT. My body had given me all the signals to not go into another extension (back bend) but instead I pushed up and felt the wrath. Where I thought I had become such an astute listener to my body it appears that my ego had surpassed my listening skills this time..... How does this happen to me? I practice yoga, (in fact I teach this stuff everyday!) I meditate, I eat mindfully.... then I remember... I am human.
My experience with my back bends unfolds a deeper purpose for listening. So often we have signals in our daily lives that although can be seemingly small and easy to overlook, end up being BIG red flags later. Our ability to be sensitive and listen is where our life practice sits.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Peel v. to strip away, to pull off.
I've been told I have tremendous will power. Let me try to will this blog to be a platform for learning and sharing ideas on growth and healing both in the body and in mind. Here is my experience and perspective as a person, sister, friend, daughter, student and teacher. Enjoy.