YOGA: All, At Once

Beware that you do not lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.
— Aesop

I was flat on my back, my right thumb, index and middle fingers holding on to my right big toe. As soon as I straightened my right leg, I stretched through my left heel to activate that leg.  It's a natural response, brought on by years of practicing and teaching yoga, to see that all parts of my body are aligned and aware while doing a pose. All, at once.

When I put one foot up on the wall (pictured), it should only go as high as I'm able to stand up straight and in balance. If any part of me is quivering, my nervous system may be sounding an alarm and I back off, do less.

Wouldn't it be nice if I could do that with the rest of my life? 

I would then choose only the things that nurture my mind, body and soul. I'd be appreciative of my past, for all that it has taught me. I'd move and act joyfully in the present, while holding the comfort and safety of my future self in mind.  All, at once.

If I feel out of balance, that I'm doing too much of any one thing, I'd back off, do less.

Wouldn't it be nice?

 

Once in a yoga workshop, my teacher led us through a challenging sequence of poses and suggested:

Always do it with Joy and Peace rather than with weakness or incapacity.

Get better with Peace and Joy.

Get better without aggression.

When you finally get it, you will do it gracefully.

In yoga and in life, I may not be able to do everything, but I do want to do everything that I'm able to do, gracefully. Therefore, I practice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hit Refresh

 Supported Halasana, a restorative yoga pose.

Supported Halasana, a restorative yoga pose.

I used to teach restorative yoga on the last scheduled day of the month for all of my classes. Each person used whatever props were necessary in order for them to hold a pose for about ten minutes. The more one could release and relax into the pose, the more refreshed and soothed they felt. Those classes were well attended by folks craving for a chance to unplug and rewind and I often ran out of props and and floor space.

 I seem to have fallen out of that once a month practice now that I'm no longer teaching. These days, restoratives come to mind only when I'm not feeling well or slowed down by jet lag. That's not the association I want to make for such powerful poses. If they cure the sick and tired, imagine what they offer the average healthy person.  I want to move a strong, open body into these postures while breathing deep and wide and coaxing my thoughts to...slow...down.

This week, I intend to refresh and restore myself and do the same for the objects and environment that surround me. Not in a manic rush to simply get things done, but with the intention of  recharging, just in time for the new moon on Saturday.

 

Weekly Wish List

LadderBlur.jpg
The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.
— Arnold J. Toynbee

I usually start the week off with a list of intentions, agreements, and things that must get done. When I look back at this photo of myself changing a light bulb in the kitchen, it made me realize that my wishes are nothing but blurred images unless I decide to focus on them. Yes, I have a punny way of looking at things. 

As I continue my daily practices, I'm wondering if a written wish list, cut and pasted online would help materialize a few things. Such things as:

1. Painting background colors on the pages of a new art journal. Alisa Burke's Art Journal Delight class begins today with lessons on how to put down color and textures before adding anything to your art journal. I'd like to fill a 34 sheet book before the new lesson next week Monday.

2. Trying a new gadget and recipes in the kitchen. After eliminating bread and pasta for several months at a time last year, they've never really made their way back into my diet. In search of alternatives, I want to make some zucchini noodles on my new Spiralizer and make some Life Changing Bread.

3. Set-up an old writing desk in my bedroom to do more than collect dust and reading material.

4. Work on some chest opening yoga poses to clear-up some congestion in my lungs. This has been my saving grace, so far.

5. Set-up my latest Filofax binder so that I don't forget anything, ever.

That's it. I think I'll take a few photos as the week hurries by and post them to my Instagram stream with the hashtag #on_this_weeks_wishlist . Wish me luck.