Monday, November 22, 2010

Gratitude

(I am very happy to report that Babe is all well now and none of the grown ups came down with the sicks either, whew!)

Tomorrow we take off for Florida for the rest of the Thanksgiving week. I'm looking forward to sunshine and to unplugging from computers and TV (though I do like to watch the parade). On that note, here's a quote from Anodea Judith on Gratitude to keep you company for the rest of the week. See you on after Thanksgiving, have a great one.


Gratitude is a remembrance of all that we have received.
It inspires us to give something back.

Appreciations:
  • That women write amazing amazing books
  • my yoga studio home and the women who make it possible
  • a warm stable house to live in and raise my child in
  • yoga students who come in ready to try anything with me, even when that means handstand in the center of the room and drop-backs all in one class
  • dreams, and creativity

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Change of Plans

Well, my day didn't exactly go as planned today. Today I was covered in girlchild puke just after I got out of the shower and that pretty much put an end to anything we thought we'd do. Instead we hung out on the sofa, watched sesame street, tried to nap, and I did plenty of cleaning up and laundry after each episode of vomiting.
Luckily, she doesn't get sick very often. When she does, I am immediately and very directly brought into the present moment and held there. Somehow I get entirely focused, everything else falls away and I am crystal clear. Nothing else matters but her. It isn't ideal that she has to be sick for this to happen but at least it does happen from time to time.
So. Now I'm going to take care of everything else that didn't get taken care of during this day. And I'll hope that tomorrow is a wee bit better... it's already looking up.
Appreciations:
  • A good friend I can call to run to the store for us so I don't have to take a sick toddler out in public
  • The nurse at the doctor's office who called me back in a reasonable timeframe with good advice
  • My mom who also called me back with good advice and sympathy
  • MY WASHING MACHINE
  • That Sesame Street is entertaining not just for the young but also for the young at heart

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Where Everybody Knows Your Name....







"Where everybody knows your name.... And they're always glad you came...."

This weekend was a fabulous moment of being in my community. It was beautiful to go from hiding in the crowd with only one chance meeting with an old friend at my first workshop with John Friend.... to knowing so many fabulous beings, and having them know me. I went with friends from RVA and along the way hugged two friends from YTT (Stephanie and her nearly due baby, and Amy). I talked with people I took immersions with in Maryland. I spoke to people I've taken workshops with, and folks I used to practice beside. I saw one of my teachers who that I keep in touch with as a model mentor. I didn't forget a name. And they didn't for get mine. That is the power of this community.
And I met plenty of new friends... one who even sought me out because she knew my name and wanted to introduce herself. I also saw Emma Magenta and Bernie Bernie who's blogs I read religiously. I didn't have a chance to speak to them but I will one day. I saw amazing yogins, with amazing practices. People who's reputations I've heard of for years like Sue and Naime.
Not only did I see, I was seen. So many people came to me and spoke to me. John gave me a personal instruction. And Anusara-Inspired teachers were asked to stand. So I know, I was seen as a member of this community that I love so much.
The only thing that would have made it even more complete would have been to see my teachers, but they were there with me either way.
And of course I saw John Friend and am still downloading all he had to say.
Now I can tell you from personal experience, you don't have to go to a bar to go to a place where everybody knows your name. You just have to come to Anusara yoga and keep on coming. Once you start you're a part of the family and you will not be forgotten. It's nice to be home.

Appreciations:
  • Community in it's many forms
  • the library
  • that the men cutting down the tree and grinding it up right in front of my daughter's window stopped in time for her to get in a good nap
  • my husband enjoys football but no other sports
  • really really warm pajamas

Thursday, November 11, 2010

John's Words


It's an all John week around here I suppose. Quotes come early this week as I'll be driving tomorrow to go to PA. Here are some lovely quotes from the 2nd Anusara Grand Gathering that happened in September.

"You are a standing Mudra of your heart ... Your body holds the memory of the fundamental goodness of life. To get in touch with love, we just soften our skin, and we feel."

"On our yoga mat, we alchemize all these things, we open to them and then use them to our advantage, turn them into blessings. We have a choice to make. We open to embrace everything. I'll face anything. This is a Warrior with love in his heart!"

I'm looking forward to bolstering the Warrior in my heart and getting a BIG HIT of LOVE this weekend.

These quotes and a description of the practice with him can be found in: A New Huffington Post Article on John by Eva Norlyk Smith, Ph.D.
Appreciations:
  • Thorns working themselves out
  • Trees
  • Maymont
  • Long Girlchild naps
  • Photos from long ago
  • a Listening ear
  • Students coming tonight
  • Mom coming tonight -- therefore, time for a walk together tomorrow

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Seeing John


Photo from John's Wiki page

One thing I really enjoy from my students is when they ask questions and seem generally interested in what I have to offer. But the asking of questions is what really sparks my interest and helps me fine tune what I teach them.
I'm going up to PA this weekend for a workshop with John Friend. Every time I've seen John he has asked the crowd for questions. I generally don't ask anything ... waiting for others to ask and then sitting back like an empty vessel, waiting to be filled. This is largely because I don't personally know John and then feel that I am not able to ask. But I realize not asking questions, which I also think of as being a "good student," doesn't exactly help to move me along personally... and also keeps my teachers from knowing how totally invested and jazzed up I am about what they are teaching.
Well, this week it occurred to me that I could ask him a question. Yes, even me. I am worthy of asking the amazing JF a question. And so I've been trying to figure out what to ask. What do you ask the guy who knows everything? What is the one thing I would like answered? A lot of anatomy/practice questions come up first... but I can find a certified teacher for those. So, what is something even deeper that I'd like John's thoughts on. Hmmm.... I still have not figured it out. But, I will, and if the opportunity presents itself I will ask him something this time.

Appreciations:
  • Max taking the Babe away yesterday morning so I had almost an hour of quiet without having to answer questions or entertain or move furniture. Whew!
  • Friends who share their struggles and allow me to learn from them along the way
  • Yoga students who show up for class even though it's now dark outside when we start
  • My washer and dryer
  • Home cooked meals and the freezer to store them in so I can have MANY meals off of one day of cooking.
Contemplation: What would you ask the ONE in the know in the world of your passion? What would you want to know from John? What do you appreciate?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Appreciation


So, it's November.

It was definitely November last week when I took the Babe out for a stroll in the afternoon. The sky was gray, the trees more bare (though some bright yellows are hanging on), and one lone bird kept singing our way. The clocks have shifted, the temperatures have shifted, our minds and bodies have shifted.

We're starting to look ahead to the holiday season. For us it begins with the trip to Florida to be together with my husband's family for Thanksgiving. I know, it's a little overboard to start talking about "THE HOLIDAYS" already. We just finished Halloween. But, a message from Amy Ippoliti in her 30-day challenge this month got me thinking. She wrote the challenge to do 3 backbends (Urdhva Dhanurasana) daily to get the heart open in preparation for the holidays.

My thoughts went something like this: Hmmm. Prepare for the holidays. Don't let them sneak up on me again. And prepare physically, emotionally, and mentally... not just by cooking, baking, stressing, and shopping. Hmmm. Interesting.

As I mentioned in an earlier post. Along with the backbends, I'm starting with Appreciation during the month of November. Appreciation. What do I appreciate and value in my day/life? And, can I remember it long enough to write it down, either on the blog or in my journal at the end of the day? To me, Appreciating something or someone means taking myself out of the center of my own little world and noticing some kindness, action, gesture, thought, situation, condition, or even intention that actually helps to make my life a little easier. I seriously appreciate my washing machine. (especially after not having one at times in my life.) Appreciation is the noticing part... Gratitude, that big effort we try to make to say THANK YOU, follows naturally from appreciating. If you appreciate something someone did, a great feeling of Gratitude swells in you and you say Thank you from the real depth of your being. Not because it is the "proper" thing to do.
All that said, I appreciate my teacher, Todd for passing along this thought process to me. Thanks Todd.
So, this November, I'm warming up to Thanksgiving, that big gathering around a table when everybody says what they're Thankful for, by warming up my Appreciation muscles. If you want to be ready with me I suggest you try it too. Make a list so it's tangible, visible, and lasts through the night. By the end of the month, the people you share your table with won't be able to eat because you'll be Thankful for SO much! (not that you have to share a MONTHS worth of gratitude, you'll just be really good at it)

A few things I appreciate today:
  • Naptime (for the Babe)
  • A well stocked Grocery Store
  • Yogurt and her pro-biotic properties
  • My husband starting the diaper washing process last night
  • the power of my practice to shift my body mind and heart
Contemplation for Appreciation: What or who has made my life at least a small amount easier today?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Lighting the Darkness

Thoughts on Light: Happy Diwali



People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within. ~Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross

Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you. ~Maori Proverb


The hero is the one who kindles a great light in the world, who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for men to see by. The saint is the man who walks through the dark paths of the world, himself a light. ~Felix Adler

Have a great weekend.... and remember to change your clock this Sunday

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Taking on and Taking Care


How did it get to be Thursday already with no other posts? That just doesn't seem possible. BUT it is Thursday and all you've heard from me is Sesame Street... actually, that's all I've heard from me, I've been on lots of Mom-duty while Max is working. November is going to be a heavy Mom-duty month I believe.

In reflecting back on last week's post about over scheduling and expecting too much from myself I'm realizing (as always) that it's not a matter of doing too much, but of balancing what I'm taking on with having enough taking CARE of myself.

A few weeks ago, I advised my friend Eliza at Art Asana to really use the poses for their benefits when she was taking on some new classes and workshops and school (whew! I'm glad I'm not writing my thesis right now). Backbending and Handstands for energy when a lot is being asked. And I've been making an effort to really strengthen and build up my home asana practice. Then I realized with my series taking off, that I could use some extra energy myself and so committed to more backbending and more handstands... especially on days when I teach. And, it helps. I feel more energized and open for teaching in the evening when I've practiced heart opening earlier in the day.
But.
I kind of forgot that if I'm ramping up my active asana... I could also stand to ramp up my restoratives and restful yoga at the same time. Without the balance of restoratives and more rest, I feel frazzled, spun out and empty. I want to whine and NOT get on the mat.
Why is it so hard to think of a restorative practice as a "real" or "worthy" or "worthwhile" practice? Why is it so hard to take the time to take care of myself? To feel that rest is a positive way to spend my time? If I'm not striving, pushing, doing, expanding, I'm not actually helping myself. How backwards is that reasoning?
So, now, today actually, I'm re-instituting my (at least) one restorative practice a week routine. I'm also going back to building in Yoga Nidra and extra long guided savasanas.
My hope is that I will leave this next session of the series in a more balanced, less frazzled place than I left the last session. That will be ideal as the holiday season approaches.

Speaking of the holiday season. For the month of November I'm keeping track of what I appreciate in my life from day to day. I'll blog more about this in an upcoming post. But now I'll share a few thoughts on what I appreciate for today:
  • That my daughter is getting old enough to entertain herself for a few minutes at a time so I can cook or blog or take a shower without a two year old on my legs
  • good conversation with good friends
  • flexibility in my schedule
  • a rainy day that falls on the same day as my restorative practice, nothing like rain to set the mood.
Ah. With that I'm off to put my legs up the wall. Do the same and have a great Thursday!

Monday, November 1, 2010

What I am

As Mondays are my get up and get things done day... here is a little inspiration for starting your Monday off right this week. Enjoy!

"There's nothing I can't achieve because in myself I believe"

Will.i.am with Sesame Street singing "What I Am"