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......