Tag Archives: yoga

In case you didn’t already know

morning message

It’s just today, again, here for you to take in.

I like to feel good. Stress, typically, does not feel good. Sure, sometimes it’s exhilarating—the thrill of rushing toward a deadline, the zing of taking a risk. But I don’t need a lot to get my fill, and lately I’ve had too much.

The other night I did yoga at home, and that helped, for sure. I twisted and stretched and wrung out some lymph nodes, coaxed my immune system to stay strong. But I don’t always have make time for yoga. Sometimes it feels like there is barely time to breathe.

And that leaves me anxious and afraid. Because, as I’ve noted before in a quote attributed to Fritz Perls, “fear is excitement without the breath.”

I need my breath, because I want to be excited. My writing group is sharing excerpts of our novels-in-progress at a local bookshop tonight. Also, the first printing of Are You My Boyfriend? is officially underway. These things (and many more) are awesome. These things are scary, too.

And so I will breathe. And I will pass along a message.

Ever since my writing group got together in March 2012 and worked through The Artist’s Way, I’ve set aside time to write morning pages every day. The pages are mostly messy brain ramblings, but they’re also a form of meditation, and I often receive information from my version of god/the universe/whatever.

Today, I felt almost possessed—my hand did not belong to my stressed-out self, no, it was guided by something else, and the words on my page shifted from first-person thoughts to second-person assurances. It was a message not just for me, but for you, too, and so I am sharing:

“Just go with it, roll with it, show up and have fun. No expectations, no worries, just do your best…let go and trust, that’s what must happen, it’s the only way this works…I love you so much, I’ve got you and all the others and all of this, it’s fun, it’s supposed to be, breathe in and enjoy it, relax, allow, exist, it’s all right, you’re okay, it’s just today, again, here for you to take in.”

…Just in case you didn’t already know.

Enough IS enough

kitchen flowers

These flowers in my kitchen are definitely enough.

I don’t know why I feel so compelled to publish a blog post; there is no reason that I have to. None. Nor is there any pressure. Not externally, at least.

Internally, I admit, there is a voice warning me how easy it is to do nothing with my blog–just look at my track record in 2012. That voice would feel better if I posted twice a month, at least.

Twice a month would be plenty, I think. In 2011 I went for a minimum of weekly and while it worked out pretty well, near the end it began feeling like a chore and that was not okay. When it comes to creating in general, yes, the discipline is important. I show up at the page every morning no matter what, a tangible commitment to self-care. But this blog is meant to be a bonus, content I share because I’m compelled to, not because I’m obliged.

And it seems I just answered my own non-question: I feel compelled to publish a blog post because I feel compelled to! In fact, I’ve felt compelled six times since my last post–hence the six drafts I started and haven’t finished. Some of them I’d still like to complete.

The thing is, it usually takes at least an hour or two for me to write and polish a post for publication. And all month long I haven’t had that kind of me time.

Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans, yeah, but it’s also what happens when you make plans and show up for them. And lately I’ve had lots of plans. Kind of like an anti-hibernation, I guess, since it’s begun to feel like winter will be over by the time I catch my breath.

But tonight I caught my breath. My scheduled activity fell through, and I came home to an empty apartment, and I chose to breathe. Unaccustomed to solitude and free time, at first I wasn’t sure what to do. Then my tense shoulders told me, so I rolled out my yoga mat and started moving.

I didn’t worry about a sequence. I didn’t bother playing music. I just dove into downward dog until I was ready for something different. Because I do attend a class regularly, a familiar structure presented itself, and I followed it loosely, breathing into each pose for as long as I wanted (and then a breath more, for growth).

And for those calm and steady minutes, where my muscles and lungs were making friends and my mind was on the sidelines, I felt no judgment, no doubt, no anxiety or fear. I was just enough.

Kind of how this blog post is enough. I haven’t said any of the stuff I intended for drafts one through six, but these words are honest anyway, and it feels good to type. To claim some cyberspace and assert my online existence.

And though my perfectionism might prefer me not to impromptu publish,  I’m going to persevere. Because this is enough for now, it really truly is, and I’m grateful to feel sufficient.

Time is telling

I’ve been struggling to compose a blog post. It’s been three months; an entire season has passed without my pressing the publish button.

I don’t feel good about this, yet I also refuse to feel bad. I am being very honest with myself about what’s going on in my life, but it is harder to be open with the entire Internet. The courage I summoned last January when I started posting on a regular basis has not disappeared, but it does seem to be transforming, and lately is expressing itself more privately than public.

And so I haven’t written. I haven’t felt like talking to you about yoga, but I know I will want to again. There are still amazing things I want to tell you, and I more than ever believe in yoga’s capacity to help people heal and grow.

And though I don’t feel bad about not writing, I do feel bad about the things I have missed sharing these last few months.

In January I did not convey the proud thrill of discovering that my feedback to a draft of The Science of Yoga was helpful enough that the author included me in the book’s Acknowledgments. I also didn’t tell you about my yoga retreat to Mexico, how I was both excited and terrified to serve as an assistant with one of my most respected teachers. That trip could have easily become a handful of blog posts–and, oh, the pictures! But I didn’t show you, and I didn’t describe the triumph of facing my fears and helping a student into her first-ever headstand in the process. I didn’t even attempt to express the significance of the full-body catharsis I experienced on the final evening, didn’t explain how an overwhelming wave of spiritual reassurance flooded my awareness and allowed me unprecedented peace and acceptance. I kept all that to myself.

In February I never let you know that one morning when I was stepping off the bus, my ankle twisted in a pothole and just like that, I lost my ability to walk. Limping was my mode of transport for weeks, and most especially during the early days of the doctors’ visits and diagnoses (technically a torn ligament, basically a standard sprain), I could have certainly written a thing or two about patience, about not taking life–or mobility–for granted. But I didn’t. I once started a draft while laid up on the couch; that’s as far as the words went.

In March I neglected to mention that I registered for the Yoga Service Council Conference. I agonized over the decision, but I didn’t work through my doubts and hesitations in a blog post. I did conclude, however, that even though I am not actively teaching yoga right now, my continued passion for and interest in the yoga service sector warrants the financial and emotional investment the conference requires, and I am very much looking forward to exploring further growth opportunities. I expect I will tell you about what I discover.

On Monday I attended my first yoga class since my ankle injury. I’m still in physical therapy twice a week and hadn’t gotten the okay to get back on the mat, but my mental state was unacceptably cluttered and thus overrode my physical condition. Even though I have a whole host of tools other than asana at my disposal, hence my ability to go without for as long as I did, there comes a point when the body’s energy just needs to move! (And the next day I did get official clearance to proceed with caution.)

I thought maybe I would write about Monday night; I observed my experience with care just in case, noted the relief I felt to see welcoming and familiar faces at my home studio. I had been worried the class would be vigorous and that I would have to be extra vigilant with self-care, but when I arrived there was Chet Baker crooning through the speakers and the next hour was challenging, but gently so, much more nurturing than I’d anticipated. A friend was teaching, and he said something that stuck with me: “These little conversations of the body, shaking and quaking, are you, growing.” I was shaking; I grew.

But I didn’t write about that class, and now April is almost half over, and it’s been months since I’ve posted anything at all. For a week or so–ever since I noticed that my last post was in frickin’ January–I’ve been mentally prodding myself to get something up for the three-month mark. I’ve heard that 90 days is the amount of time it takes to form a new habit (Yoga Journal commenter goes so far as to suggest that 90 days is the time it takes to renew all the blood cells in the body), yet I do not want to be in the habit of ignoring this blog.

And so as spring approaches, I emerge from my online hibernation and say hello. I am grateful to be posting, I am most definitely okay, and in case you didn’t know, you are too. As for what’s next? We’ll just have to wait and see.