Friday, October 28, 2011

Time to Fly

All the prep work I've been doing is starting to pay off.  I've spread my wings, taken those first tentative flaps to lift off and I'm working my way toward soaring.  I have put myself out there and I'm starting to see the reward.  I have met some amazing women and am beginning to work my new connections to get my foothold in this community.  Along with the seasonal job I have lined up at the ski resort, I have finally gotten on a sub list at a yoga studio.  I will be subbing my first class in a couple of weeks.  I'm nervous and excited to do so.  I haven't taught a yoga class since the beginning of June.  I am used to "winging it" in my classes.  I was teaching so much and I was so accustomed to my students that I never had to do lesson plans.  I would just walk into class with at least 1 pose that I wanted to include in the practice and wait to see where we'd end up.  This time I'll be out of practice and I will be teaching students I've never met before.  This means I'll need some sort of plan. 

Planning seems to be all I've been doing lately.  Planning ways to teach again, planning how I'll make some money, planning how we'll enjoy our first ski season in UT, planning how I'll volunteer at the girls' school, planning for the immediate and distant future.  It's been a while since I've had to do so much plotting out of my life.  I've forgotten how exhausting it can be.  Being constantly grounded and working on my life's foundation again has made me energetically heavy.  It's time for me to lighten things up again.  This is also part of the reason that it's time for me to "fly", not only in my practice but in my life in general.  Bringing that sense of lightness and ease back into my life will help to keep me from being bogged down in all the planning. 

Don't get me wrong, my days have not all been filled with the weight of starting again.  I have been thoroughly enjoying my free time.  I have filled it with my natural surroundings.  I have hiked and biked more in the past few months than I have done in many years, probably more than I have done at any other time in my life.  If I already had a job and had gotten myself into other daily commitments I would not have the joy and wonderfully intense experience of seeing the seasons change around me in one of the most beautiful places I have ever lived.  I am truly grateful for this time and have immensely enjoyed it.  It truly is the one thing that has kept me happy while working to reinvent myself yet once again.  Being outside every day has also provided me with moments to "fly".  Climbing to the peak of mountains to see the land spread out below me and cruising downhill on my bike while feeling the wind in my face are two ways that I feel those sensations of being free, of experiencing a sense of flight.

I need to feel this in my practice too.  For those of us who seek to find our way through life's messy parts by taking to our yoga mats it is understood that the practice can create moments of transformation.  Transformation not only in the practice of yoga itself but transformation in life as well.  When I'm on my mat I can become whoever or whatever I want.  I have the opportunity to be still like a rock, flow like a river or fly like an eagle.  I can be as quiet as a mouse or as ferocious as a lion.  My practice can help me find solutions to problems by calming my mind and releasing stress from my body.  This week I need to fly.  I'm not ready to take on the nobleness of an eagle but I do need to spread my wings and become light as the air.  I'm taking Bakasana or crow (or crane) pose ( Yoga Journal, 2011) for this reason.  Crow pose is all about inner balance.  When looking at the pose one would assume that strong arms are needed.  This is not the case.  There is no need for physical strength.  The ability to do the pose comes from inner focus and a sense of "I can do this" wonder.  If doubt creeps in the pose collapses.  One must take on a sense of self containment and let the outside world fade into the background.  It's an interesting combination of "letting go" of anything beyond the physical body and "taking hold" of all that is within the skin.  

Crows are humble and plentiful birds.  You can find them anywhere in the US.  They are sleek black and of moderate size.  They can be loud and are social animals.  I think right now I am more like a crow then any other animal.  Now that I'm trying to find my place here in UT I find that I'm not that unique.  I'm in an area where being a yoga teacher isn't that different, I have another yoga teacher in my neighborhood after all.  I'm just one of the flock.  For now I'm OK with that.  I mean I need to become a part of the community before I can show them all how I'm different and special.  In order to show people what makes me unique I need to get my wings back.  I need to be fearless again, confident once more and comfortable being one of the crowd.  While at the same time I need to let go of whatever thoughts and feelings I have projected into the people around me and take hold of all that I have within me.  If I doubt myself I will fall but if I focus on all that is within me I will fly high.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dancing Queen

There's a fine line between being excited and manic, being assertive and aggressive, being brave and reckless.  I feel like I'm always walking the line.  It's like being on a tightrope, one wrong step and you're over the edge, falling and hoping you make it out alive.  It's hard when you are in the midst of reestablishing yourself in a new community, to know where exactly that line exists.  In MD it was easy because I knew all the boundaries.  I knew who I could cut loose with and who I should be conservative around, here not so much.  I have made friends with a couple of neighborhood moms and I'm starting to know where I stand with them but now that I'm starting to meet other parents at the girls' school I am still hesitant about just how "me" I can be.  Sometimes I like to be raucous and rowdy, will they think I'm a loud mouth?  Sometimes I am quiet and observant, will they think I'm a snob?  I'm not living in a big fancy 3500 sq ft mountain house, will they think I'm not good enough to be their friend?  I teach yoga and help women have their babies, will they think I'm too crunchy earthy hippie?  In the grand scheme of things it's not like I truly care either way but it's still hard when you're unsure of just where the boundaries lay. 

No matter what others think of me and where my place ends up being in this community I will always stay true to "me".  I'm a dancing queen!  I like to kick up my heels and have a good time.  I like to sing at the top of my lungs when I love the song.  Most importantly I love to laugh.  I hope that the people I meet here can see this about me. 

Since the move I have been lucky enough to see friends who have known me for a very long time.  Some have known me since high school, some have known me since Americorps, some have known me since my single party girl days, but all of them have held on to their appreciation for all that I was, am and always will be.  For this I am truly grateful!  Now I get to make my way into new friendships that will no doubt continue on into my old age.  I am excited for these new people to get to know me.  I can't wait to make new friends to dance, giggle and share stories with.

The opportunities are coming fast and furious for this to happen.  I got the job at Deer Valley Resort and while it doesn't start until December 1st I will meet some new people there and most likely make some great friends.  I have met some other moms at the girls' school and have already begun to establish a great friendship with one mom in particular.  I have gotten closer to two neighborhood moms and we are now hanging out socially as well as in the 'hood.  The doors are opening and I'm shimmying and shaking right on through doing what I do best, meeting new people and making new friends. 

My practice this week is dedicated to me and my social personality.  I'm dancing my way through my practice and indeed through my life.  Natarajasana or Dancer pose ( Yoga Journal, 2011) is hard to do.  The pose is done standing on one foot while holding the other extended behind you, this in and of itself is challenging.  Then you have to reach the other hand for the sky while kicking your lifted foot upward and back, this makes the chest open and the heart shines forward.  It's like being a ballerina just without the pirouetting and plies-ing.  It takes grace and confidence.  These are two characteristics that I think I have, even when I'm guffawing at myself because I've tripped over my own feet.  After all it takes grace and confidence to be able laugh at yourself and get on with life.  This is the most important part of me that I want those I'm inviting into my life to be aware of.

Uncharted Territory

So I originally wrote this blog 2 weeks ago just after the girls started back to school.  I'm just now realizing that I never hit "Publish Post".  Duh......

I have an empty house.  It's just me, the dog and the cat.  The girls are off to their first week of school and I'm home alone.   It's nice and quiet.  The dog and I have just finished a 3 hour hike and we feel great.   My plan for this week is to get out and hike each day.  Hitting trails I haven't been on and hiking as long as I want.  I'm stretching out in new directions and exploring uncharted territory.  I have 7 hours to kill from the time I drop them off to the time I pick them up.  What to do with myself??  Obviously I have found 1 thing; hike.  There has to be more though right? 

I am looking for jobs as well.  I met a woman recently who suggested that I look into getting a seasonal job at one of the ski resorts.  Aside from the obvious perk of it being seasonal and not being locked into it until goodness knows when she said there are many other benefits such as ski passes, discounts on ski school and deals at local shops.  It sounds pretty good to me so I've begun looking.  I just finished an application to Deer Valley Resort for a full time position in the childcare center.  This seems like a no brainer to me since I was a substitute teacher at a preschool in MD, helped out at the elementary school in the classroom and with the art kids in the variety show there, and taught kids yoga in a variety of places.  I now have an interview lined up for next week.  Here's to hoping it goes well.

I'm also still working on getting connected to the local hospital.  I've been researching the hospital itself along with local OB/GYNs and midwives.  I have been asking around to people I've met to see if they might have any connections for me to contact.  I have come up with a few and need to start planning how I will present myself to them.  I also need to work on a proposal to submit to the hospital itself, as they don't currently have a perinatal fitness program. 

This week I feel like I need to stretch out and test the waters so to speak.  I am learning about my new community and putting myself out there meeting people and seeing what happens in Park City.  This week I am hovering between the quiet grounding that has happened in my return to self-observation and the balance I need while I experiment and explore in establishing a new me in a new place.  In my practice I will be doing a lot of Ardha Chandrasana or Half Moon pose ( Yoga Journal, 2011).  I'm staying grounded with one side of my body; one hand and one foot remain connected with the earth, and yet with the other side I'm reaching out to extend myself into my new surroundings.  Balance is key here and most of the balance is founded upon the grounding of my single hand and foot.  This is also a reminder as I begin to make my place in this new community that I must not ever overextend myself but keep parts of myself ever firm in the foundation of Self. 

I have so much to do and I'm feeling like I can start spreading my wings.  I'm becoming more sure of the lay of the land here and the time will soon come when I will take flight, embarking on the next part of this journey I call life.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sittin' Pretty

Summer vacation is coming to an end.  This means I will have my day times available once again for working.  This next week will see me preparing to present myself as my own brand.  I will get my business website up and running, get brochures made for yoga and doula work, create a database of OB/GYN, midwife and pediatrician offices where I will distribute the brochures, update my resume, and write a proposal for the local hospital (they currently have no perinatal fitness classes).  In order to get this all done I need to focus.  This focus will consist of visualizing what exactly I'd like to accomplish, setting out my intention and creating a wave of positive energy that flows between myself and the community. 
Now as many of you know I'm no stranger to starting over again and again and again....  Each time has been a learning experience.  I've been able to narrow down what I'm offering so that I'm a unique entity in the yoga market.  I went from being a general yoga teacher to focusing on the specific genre of childbirth.  Teaching yoga to prenatal and postpartum mothers, their babies and partners paired with my experience as a doula makes me an invaluable part of the perinatal community.
In order to obtain the focus needed to get the ball rolling I will be taking a seat for much of my practice.  This week will find me working on my meditation and visualization skills.  When meditating the sadhaka (yoga student) sits in Sukhasana ( Yoga Journal, 2011) or easy pose.  This pose allows the sit bones to ground making an energetic connection to the world around the sadhaka.  The purpose of this pose is to come to a relaxed place of being rather than a place of doing.  In this pose one strives to quiet the mind while energizing the body.  The goal of quieting the mind is many times more challenging then most of the hardest yoga poses.  The mind, with is many parts, is always rambling from one thought to the next, sometimes contemplating multiple thoughts at once.  In order to reign the mind in one should find a single point of focus or sabija ( ThriveInside, 2009).  Sabija could include a sacred sound (om), a mantra (om namah shivaya) or a visual point like the flame of a candle.  For my sabija I will visualize what I hope my next business venture to be like.  I will envision positive feedback from prospective employers, the right amount of work so that I'm not overextending myself, the pay that I hope to receive and the opportunity to grow.  I will endeavor to put these positive thoughts into action.  I will see it all in my state of "being" so that I will be more efficient in my state of "doing". 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Area of a Triangle

A triangle has 3 points and 3 sides.  It seems that many of my relationships have held to the triangle standards.  Mind you this is not to be confused with the 6 degrees of separation.

Take for instance my husband, it was the third place we shared connections that we actually met.  We could have met in Maine while he was attending the nearby college where I would often visit friends.  We could have met in Massachusetts where I was attending college, he had transferred and we once again had friends in the same place.  But no it was in Colorado on Halloween night many years ago when we were each out with 2 friends and a strange turn events between 2 of those friends that brought us together.

Friends of my single days came by way of jobs.  My friend Denby, who is in the above photo, came my way due to our connection via working at Nine West.  First the job was the catalyst that got our friendship rolling and then our friendship became that open flood gate to the world beyond.

Currently in the land of mommyhood many of my friends came to my not by my own doing but more due to the direct connection of my daughters.  The friendships that my daughters formed in turn led me to my own.  One of my best friends in MD was a result of my oldest daughter's desire to do Girl Scouts.  Had this not been the case the triangle would not have been completed between myself and Karen. 

This week in honor of all those simple connections that have been initiated by simple and direct lines the pose is Utthita Trikonasana or triangle pose ( Yoga Journal, 2011). It's a lovely pose with a broad, strong foundation. One must press the feet gently away from each other and yet at the same time draw them in and toward the groin.  This helps to engage the core and increase a sense of balance.  The shoulders release down the spine to ease any tension in the upper body.  The chest expands and the heart opens.  The head is poised lightly extending through the crown while comfortably turning upward toward an open hand.

Utthita  Trikonasana is one of my favorite postures.  I find the sense of stable sturdy legs paired with the open heart most comforting.  I'm always amazed at how easily I feel that I can settle into the pose all the while breaking it down in micro movements to open, extend and hinge deeper.  My mind rarely wanders in triangle pose because it is busy noticing the small adjustments that I can make to take myself further in the posture.

The same holds true for all of those triangular relationships in my life.  My mind rarely wanders from them but instead is constantly making small adjustments for the relationship to go deeper, to take it to the next level.  I find it comforting to know that all of my relationships as well as my Being in triangle posture are a work in progress.   

My lovely model doing the pose with me this week is none other than the world class Denby Bruzas.  

Monday, July 25, 2011

Lean on Me

This past week I had the pleasure of spending time with some of my most treasured friends.  For many of them, it had been years since we had seen each other.  However it seemed like no time had passed.  We settled back into that familiarity of a strong friendship.  We all had so much to catch up on sometimes conversation moved very swiftly.  During those conversations it was clear to me how much our lives continue to intertwine and support each other.  

Even though the things that we support each other on have changed many times over the years and even though there have been times when we've each overstepped the boundaries, we still maintain that unbreakable connection.  We have each taken a turn providing the strength to hold another up when they are facing problems that might otherwise beat them down.  Likewise we've each had to be humble when we were the ones needing that shoulder to cry on.

This week in honor of ALL my friends the pose is Stacking Downward Dog.  Adho Mukha Svanasana ( Yoga Journal, 2011) is paired with Ardha Adho Mukha Vrksasana (half handstand).  The person doing downward dog becomes deeply grounded with the weight and direction of energy when the person doing the half handstand takes position.  The person doing half handstand must concur the fear of being upside down and having all of their weight in their own hands ( Yoga Journal, 2011).  Clearly given that this is a partner pose the two individuals must support each other physically but there must also be trust and communication. It's not surprising that these two things are the foundation for long lasting friendship.

Last week while my friends and I confided in each other, reminisced about past follies, and contemplated what our individual futures hold I was reminded how blessed I am to have the friends I do.  Whether they are near or far each friend has taken a turn holding me up when my legs felt as if they may buckle with the weight of life, encouraged me to reach for my goals, helped me sift through the rubble to find the treasures beneath and have been a shining light to bring happiness and fulfillment to my life.  I can only hope that I was able to return the favor.

Thank you all and I love you dearly!!! 

A special thank you to Tina Molloy for modeling the pose with me.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Putting Down Roots

Week 2 in Park City is coming to a close.  We have gone exploring a bit deeper into the surrounding area and have found reservoirs to swim in, lots of great trails to hike, a sweet new thrift store to shop at and a new favorite ice cream joint.  Each day we're taking a new adventure and finding new and exciting places to visit and explore.  In some ways it already seems like we've been here longer.

The one thing I have yet to do is make it to a yoga studio.  Without my "village" I don't have anyone to watch the girls while I take a class.  My husband is gone most of the time to work and when he's home on the weekends it's family time, same as when he comes home in the evenings.  Normally I wouldn't think twice about skipping out on the evenings or weekends and leaving him with the girls but given the fact that we were apart for the better part of the last year while he was here and we were in MD I can't justify doing that just yet.  Instead I guess I'm subconsciously opting to reestablish the roots of this family.  Right now I feel I need to put more thought and effort into the family tree.

This week I will focus on Vrksasana or tree pose ( Yoga Journal, 2011).  Vrksasana is all about the balance.  Before moving my scale was rather one sided.  I taught lots of classes and did tons of volunteer work but my time spent just with my husband and kids was limited.  I was always go, go, going and not often enough just being.  Now with the move I find that it's the opposite.  I'm doing a whole lot of nothing and that makes me feel antsy and interestingly enough, anxious.  As we are learning our way around and slowly making our way into this community it is my goal to bring those two opposing aspects into balance.  Not just for myself but for our family as a whole.  Can we stay firmly planted to the ground spreading our roots while reaching endlessly toward the sky?  I think we can.  The one thing that I feel needs to happen is rather than me being the one to always be in motion I need to slow down a bit and let the girls and Mark catch up.  We need to do things as a family instead of as individuals.   When I do start teaching again I need to take it down a notch and not throw myself so headlong into it that my balance is lost.

When I take tree pose this week I will bring added balance to the posture by holding my arms out like a scale.  In one hand I'll hold my family and all of their needs and wants, in the other I'll hold my own.  I will stay rooted firmly into the ground while continuing to grow tall toward the heavens and yet reaching evenly out toward each side.  I'll be a bit like a compass bearing each of the four directions, N, E, S & W.  I may sway in the wind like a tree but I won't topple.  My limbs will have the strength and integrity to support my family and myself without compromising either. 

Now that we're reconnecting with each other as a family we can each slowly begin to spread our limbs.  Gently latching onto things we each enjoy, for me that is yoga.  I will figure out a way to get to the local studios, check them out and take classes.  I won't force it but let it happen naturally.  This may mean that I don't teach again until after school starts back up.  I have decided I'm OK with that.  After all it's all about the balance and this summer balance means hanging out with my family.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mountains out of Mole Hills

We moved into our house on Friday.  It's a sweet little mountain house complete with Lodge Pine.  It's in a nice neighborhood and the girls have already made friends.  We've mostly unpacked, except for the boxes hiding out downstairs in the guest room.  We took in the local 4th of July festivities and had a great time.  We went to the farmers market and the local artisan market.  We've made it to the library to get our card and checked out our first books there.  We have explored some trails behind our house and made steps toward becoming "locals".  Considering how hard the lead up to the move was the aftermath has been relatively easy.

The past couple of weeks have found me doing limited yoga.  Not only due to the busy-ness of the move but also because my knee has been bothering me.  Some how, unbeknownst to me, I injured it before the move  and have been dealing with the swelling, lack of mobility and sometimes pain that have been the result of this injury for the last few weeks.   The swelling has ceased but the overall discomfort has not.  I have been babying it and trying to keep from moving it in any way that is bothersome.  Last week pretty much all I did was headstand while trying to right my world which, by the way, helped. 

This week, with my world feeling more normal, I will be looking at things from the perspective of Tadasana or mountain pose ( Yoga Journal, 2011).  Now that I'm surrounded on all sides by mountains it only seems right that this should be the pose of the week.  I'm in the valley of Park City and in every direction I look the skyline is above me.  Mountains by nature are strong, sturdy and wild.  My life here without a doubt will come to mirror that.  Given that the foundation of my body is compromised right now by my knee I need to take a lesson from the hills that surround me.  I need to broaden my foundation energetically and draw my life breath from the ground below my feet and carry it upward to the peak of my being or the crown of my head.  While in Tadasana I will focus on aligning my chakra system ( Wikipedia, 2011).  Tadasana itself is a bit of a static posture.  One doesn't move the body in the sense of limbs lifting, extending or flexing.  Instead one moves the energy within the body.  I find that when I am in Tadasana and I close my eyes I am able to feel the energy rise from the ground below my feet and slowly sweep it's way upward touching each and every cell before gently releasing from the crown of my head.  I will focus on this movement of prana (life energy) as it moves through me.  I will pay more attention to it than I normally do and I will stay in this posture feeling this energy vibrate within in me as will as beyond my skin into the space around me.  Most importantly I will allow this flow of energy to meld my body, mind, and spirit into the mountains that surround me as they become not only a passing aspect of my life but an integral part of it. 

Thursday, June 30, 2011

This End Up

We made it.  We got to Salt Lake without a hitch, thank goodness!  But this was only the day of travel, the rest of the week was a roller coaster of emotion.  I felt completely overwhelmed at some points and excited at the prospect of new adventure at others.  Once all the tasks were complete I did feel a sense of relief and some peace.  It was hard to say good-bye to our friends and lots of tears were shed.  I would be lying if I said last week did not take a toll on me.  My body is exhausted, my mind equally so and my heart needs some time to heal.

Now that we're here I'm not sure what to do.  This week we're in a state of limbo while we wait to move into our house.  We're living out of suitcases and while it could just seem like we're on any normal summer vacation we're not.  Our things and my car don't come until Friday when we move into the house.  I have the most random crap packed in my suitcase because there's stuff I found once the movers drove off with all the boxes.  I had to go on a search and rescue last night for dog food (specialty brand not carried by your run of the mill pet store) and sturdy shoes to hike around in (I managed to pack sneakers for the girls and not for myself).  We're camped out on mattresses in the middle of Mark's apartment borrowed from the owner of the house.  It's all a little topsy-turvy.

It can be a bit chaotic in a new place so the pose this week is Salamba Sirsasana or headstand ( Yoga Journal, 2011).  I feel like my life is a bit upside down so in order to see things from the right perspective I need to go upside down too.  Not only does the dristhi ( The Secrets of Yoga, 2011) change outside the body but the focus must also change inside.  I must let go of what I see beyond myself and look within to find my balance.  The whole body must be engaged to find one's center of gravity when upside down.  I can't just power through mind over matter, I must find that power deep inside me.  The arms need to push the earth away so that I'm light on my head.  Core muscles need to hug the internal organs keeping them safe inside my torso and aiding the extension my spine.  The legs must energetically extend skyward to keep from crumbling down.  This is not always an easy pose even under the most ideal conditions.  To do this pose free form with no support is a testament of strength, endurance and focus.  While I no doubt have support from friends, family and most importantly my husband and daughters, I need to find the balance all on my own.  My dristhi must be turned inward and my body is to be the vessel that contains it all.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Here Comes the Sun

It's the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year.  Some how though I think it may feel like the shortest.  The week is already slipping away, the countdown well begun.  On Monday next week I will be en route to Utah.  The husband, the girls, the dog, the cat and I will be flying westward.  We'll actually be with the sun much longer that day then on the solstice due to the time difference.  Because of all the long days with extra daylight I think I'm going to declare it Sun Week.

I have a lot to do and I find my energy is lagging.  I know part of it is due to the sadness I'm feeling about leaving MD.  I would be completely happy if it rained all week, it would match my mood.  It's not going to though, it's supposed to be hotter with more sun.  I guess this means I should harness some of that energy, heaven knows I have a lot more to do.  I need to put everything in order, I need to clean, pack, sort, run last minute errands, take my car to the mechanic, enjoy my friends, use local gift certificates I received from places I have taught yoga and from my girl scouts and their families. All the days seem too short and yet I don't have enough energy to keep up.  The fact that I severely dislike feeling my time slip away also makes me depressed feeding the cycle of no energy.  I feel like I'm sinking in the mud.  I have let the Kapha ( Blue Lotus Ayurveda, 2001-2010) part of my being take over.  I need to kick start the Pitta energy, the Agni (inner fire) needs to take over.  I must shine my radiant energy outward toward the tasks which need to be completed in just a few short days.  I need to rise a little earlier and get things accomplished in the morning.  I need to breathe deeper this week and combine the energy built up over the last 2 weeks.  Linking my open heart with my position of surrender, all the while making myself more buoyant on the breath.

Generally on the solstice yogis do 108 Sun Salutations ( Wikipedia, 2011).  I will however be focusing on the Sun Breath.  The Sun Breath is the first part of the various Sun Salutation sequences.  Often when teaching I use this breath sequence to warm my students up and it becomes a place to build vinyasa (yogic flow) from.  Normally I would do it 7-10 times to warm up, but I want my practice to consist predominately of the posture of the week so I will attempt to do 108.  I'm not sure I'll do 108 in a row.  I think I'll need to throw a down dog or 10 in between somewhere.  Just so you know I will take my time but if a head rush starts coming on I know child's pose and I'm not afraid to use it!  My purpose is to see if I can be more productive.   Can I accomplish more and feel more energetic and possibly more happy and positive if I stoke my inner fire with prana (life energy).  If I walk the thin line of duality between the vulnerable open heart and the surrendering of the forward fold while riding the waves of breath will I find the path I seek?

The Sun Breath will be a big part of my wake up call this week.  I will do as many as I can over the next few days.  I will do them in the morning upon waking and at any time during the day when I need a little more pep.  I will allow myself to be open to the possibilities of the future but will always return to my inner self to find support, compassion and peace. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Open Heart, Quiet Mind

This week saw the end of an era.  My constant involvement in this community is the era I mean.  With no more yoga classes and no more Girl Scouts I feel all this space around me.  When I think too hard about it I begin to feel as if I just might drown at sea but when I quiet my mind and open my heart out into that space I feel love.

I have felt love many times while here in MD.  I have gained fabulous friends, I have had amazing yoga students, I have been a bit like the Pied Piper holding the hearts and minds of children around me and I have felt all the love I hold in my own heart for each of these people and of this community in which I have been lucky enough to call home.   The recognition, support and encouragement given to me in the past few days has been like nothing I have experienced before.  The best way I can think to describe it is that straight from the dryer warm and snugly blanket.  :-)  If life is measured in moments then the ones I have had recently set the bar pretty high!

This week my focus pose is Kapotasana (Yoga Journal, 2011).  This posture allows me to be strongly supported by the earth below.  I am firmly grounded and should it become too much the fall is minimal.  Given this foundation it's easy to be brave with the expansion and opening in my heart.  I can let go of fear and inhibitions, sending and receiving love freely.   My heart leads rather then my head.  When this happens grace is all around.  This is when I prove to myself that I am truly deserving of the showering of affection I have been experiencing; because that same affection pours from deep within me to those who I am surrounded by.  It's fluid, free and fabulous!

Monday, June 6, 2011

So it ends and so it begins

Surrender.  It's a pretty intense word.  It can have varied meanings.  One can surrender when they know they have not won.  Some will surrender when the fight is not worth the cause.  For some still it can mean to give up, all hope is lost.  For me surrender has meant all of those during different stages of my life.  I find that I am in a position to surrender again; this time surrendering my life as I have known it for the past 4 and 1/2 years.

My husband has taken a job that requires him, myself and our two daughters (ages 10 and 6) to move from the greater DC area to Park City, UT.  This is a big move, somehow it seems bigger to me then the ones we've made before.  This time both girls are older and in school, this time I am working almost full time as a yoga teacher, this time we have PTA and Girl Scout activities, this time we are completely immersed in the neighborhood and community and most importantly this time we have a home that belongs to us.

I've been having problems surrendering all these things in our life; in my life.  I love each of these so much that I've completely equated who I truly AM with these activities and material possessions, because of this I have been angry, sad and hurt that I have to give up little (or seemingly big) pieces of me. 

Recently someone from my book club chose to read the book "Poser: My Life in 23 Yoga Poses" by Claire Dederer.  As I was reading the book I kept thinking it mirrored my life in many ways but was kind of left flat by it.  I passed it on to fellow yoginis at the studio where I have been teaching so they could read the book and went about my business.  Two weeks ago when I was starting my current round of actively surrendering my life in MD (letting go of my first yoga class) one of my students gifted the book to me again.  I graciously accepted because I was touched that she had given me a parting gift.  I got home and put the book on the coffee table where it still is.  I kept seeing it but having already read it the book was no longer part of my awareness.  

Last night as I lay on the couch channel surfing I stopped on the tail end of the movie "Eat, Pray, Love".  It was the closing of the film when Julia Roberts is quoting a passage from Elizabeth Gilbert's book of the same title.  The  gist of the quote is that when you're on a quest (like trying to figure out how to surrender and move peacefully to UT) you need to keep all of your senses aware.  You need to take in every clue no matter how big or small.  If you do this you will surely be led to your own truth.  When you surrender and stop trying to control everything the path begins to brighten before you, the signs are clearly lit and you find your SELF at the end of the journey.   

Now I think I know the reason the book ended up back in my possession.  My acupuncturist has told me time and again that I should journal, write out my thoughts and feelings so I can review them later and see a side of me that somehow I am blind to.   I have been trying to journal but only halfheartedly.  This leads to the reason you're here reading this today.  I have decided this clue (the book) means not only do I need to journal but to give myself over to it completely. Writing out my thoughts and emotions but also connecting with the one thing that constantly brings me closer to my SELF then any other activity I do or thing I own; yoga.   

So as I focus my practice this week around Paschimottanasana, seated forward bend ( Yoga Journal 2011), I will be focusing on peacefully surrendering my last couple weeks in MD.  I will keep myself grounded physically through the lower body while I allow my head and heart to slip slowly forward into the unknown.  I will close my eyes and I will have faith in my SELF.  I won't allow my mind, body and spirit to be clouded by fears of letting go, of allowing other teachers to take on the classes i taught, of handing over the reigns of the Girl Scout troops to new leaders, allowing other parents to be in charge at PTA functions, and of letting a friend who needs a helping hand rent the house while we're gone.  (Notice how I refrained from saying "my" and owning any of those things.  See I'm making progress already!)  I'm working to unclench my fists.  I have received many benefits and blessings here during my time but in order to make way for receiving the same in UT my hands need to be open, along with my mind and heart.  So here I go, setting out on my quest. 

I surrender, I surrender, I surrender......