Saturday, August 6, 2016

When it doubt, do it again...FIVE TIMES

The apartment is quiet this morning. Lil b went to work, hubs went to say see-ya-laters to friends before we make the final move to Tampa, and I'm here with my dog.
A good excuse to take practice and although I left my mat in Tampa, that sweet-hub-o-mine text and told me to use his mat. He must've heard the excuses starting to simmer.

So practice I did.
All is coming.
I decided to get as far as I could without forcing a posture. It's been a couple of years since I've had a committed practice so I've eased back into time on my mat by moving through the standing postures of the primary series. Today I told myself I'd keep going until I got stuck.
How appropriate.
My old friend Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana.
For the record, I still do not like to feel stuck.

But today, rather than being aggravated, I kept my promise.
I took my practice as far as I could without out forcing a posture 
I practiced ardha baddha padma paschimottanasana 5 times, did my closing postures and took a beautiful savasana.

I recently taught a 4 day Sign Language interpreting intensive titled Rendering the English. It was a led class in the practice required to effectively interpret from ASL to English. I shared the concept of Mysore with my students and how there have been times in my yoga practice where I have effortlessly completed postures further along the series than ardha baddha Padma paschimottanasana, but there are also times where I will have to go back to something I thought I already knew, and practice it again -- and again -- and again -- and again -- and again. Much like interpreting.
Their willingness to go back to basics with me over those 4 days gave me inspiration on my mat this morning. Willingness to love myself right where I am and curiosity to learn what I can while I'm here.

Guruji is right, all is coming.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Take practice anyway

All twist poses seem to be easier when the body is slim. All twist poses are more challenging with relative short arms. Who cares. Take practice anyway.

I haven't looked at this blog in over 6 months but I've thought about it often. The quote that lines my title banner has been meandering through my brain as of late and at odd hours of the day I hear my spirit say, "take practice anyway!"

If possible, I am now shorter, or at least curvier than I ever have been outside of being pregnant and this excess curviness makes everything more challenging.

Who cares. Take practice anyway.

I've spent the past 6 months eating out of colored containers and pushing through burpees and hip drops -- all of which have given me several proud-of-myself-moments. But I stopped, and when I stop the progress stops.

Who cares. Take practice anyway.

I moved from 30 minute workouts to a pilates/yoga based program and something in my soul stirred.
That stirring unearthed photos and memories from 2012 and 2013 -- a time when I practiced regularly. I was still short, I was still curvy -- I didn't care, I took practice anyway and I was the happiest and strongest I can ever remember physically, mentally and emotionally.

Several weeks ago I rolled out my mat and took practice
  • Opening chant
  • Surya Namaskara
  • Closing chant
  • Savasana
It was short, but it was practice and it was good.

This week I made it to my mat 3 times.
Surya Namaskara through Parshvottanasana the chants sooth my restless mind and my sweet dog joins me for Savasana.
It feels good to be back on my mat.

So much is happening in our lives right now. Our youngest children head off to college in less than a month, I've accepted a new job with more responsibilities in a new city, my husband is willing to uproot himself for the adventure awaiting we get to pack, we get to purge, we get to move. We get to send our children off with a hug and a promise of an answered phone or late night text session. We get to explore new neighborhoods and decorate a new space....and I get to practice. Practice everything I've been preparing for as I take the step from mom of children to mom of adults -- from assistant to director -- from co-parent to dating wife :)

All is coming.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

When terror strikes

Last year for our anniversary my husband presented me with two, poignant, heartfelt gifts in hopes I would reconnect with some lost pieces of me: the first, a chakra pendant of a woman in lotus position and the second, a leather bound journal with an embossed sugar skull on the cover. I loved both of them instantly and fell deeper in love, with him and with them, when he said, "when you practice and write regularly, you're a happier person." It's taken me a few months to act on each of those behaviors, but now that I have -- he couldn't be more correct.

The relationship with my yoga mat is much like that of an old, true friend. We've gone our own directions busy with other things, but when we get back together, it's like we never separated. I've rolled out my mat each day since the tail end of December and while my practice may not be what it once was in terms of asana completion, it is still healing, restorative, and confidence building. I can almost "hear" my body whispering "thank you" as I move between postures with a deep ujjayi breath and everything settles into a familiar rhythm. Even the preparation of my yoga space was meditative. I practice on our porch which is filled with visions of growth and relationship. My husband has a thriving herb and tomato garden in pots along the edge of the balcony and my yoga altar is a reminder of where we have been as a couple and where we will go so the day I took time to delicately wash each statue and Milagros, to wipe down all the surfaces and sweep the floor also felt like I was clearing the cobwebs from my soul inviting spirit into a warm, comfortable dwelling place.

An earlier time when there was no fear
The space has been cleared, the intentions are clear and the judgment has been set aside...until my practice brings me to Urdhva Dhanurasana, back bending. I remember first growing into this posture. My teacher at the time, Shanna, firmly encouraged me and wouldn't let me cheat myself out of its benefits. Later in my practice, she used me as an example of someone "with a strong back bend" to demonstrate the posture to one of her teaching students and I remember those words dearly. I've even tried to call them to mind these past few weeks -- "she's very good in this posture, she has a strong back bend..." but nothing negates the true fear I feel when attempting this posture now.

Fear, no, it feels more like terror. It's not a fear that I will fail, or that I will hurt myself or not be able to complete the pose, it's a real welling of terror from below my heart that quickens my breath and nearly pushes the emotions out of my eyes. My husband coached me through the posture once last week and I moved through the series, but the fear was still there. The next day, when he wasn't there -- I just couldn't push up.

I'm allowing myself to sit with this fear, rather than run away from it or bury it in a negative coping strategy as the Babs of my past would have, until my mind and body are ready to move through the posture.

Urdhva Dhanurasana is a heart opener - among other benefits - and requires a bit of vulnerability and is also meant to counteract anxiety. "Back bends thrust your full life force up through the spine and burn through blockages along the way. When one of these blockages gets triggered it really does not matter whether you are doing a deep back bend  or a beginner back bend because the emotional state that gets triggered is really of paramount importance." ( So for now, I will continue to focus on consistency of things that make me a happier person and remember all is coming.