Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Get Moving

That, is my grandmother.  Gigi.  In her late 80s leading a conga line at my wedding almost 8 years ago. She will probably do the same at my cousins wedding next month --  she's 94 now and religiously goes to her Zumba class at the Y each week.

Every memory and thought I have of Gigi has her in motion.  Walking, Dancing, Dancing, Dancing, doing her "exercises" when I was small and would come to visit, yoga lessons, swimming.  That's Gige. A mover and shaker and never happier than when she has good music and a great dance partner.

As I said, she is 94 and still lives alone (with loving assistance from my mother a few streets over), and is pretty darn with it mentally.  I'm sure I forget at least as many things as she does and I don't have age as an excuse (just two small children and lack of sleep)

I was thinking of her recently while on my break from practice.   I took 4 weeks off after baby boy came along, following midwife's instructions.  And what happened?  I turned wickedly sour.  I got grumpy and tight and annoyed.  Not moving my body meant that my heart and emotions didn't have space for movement either.  Everything got stuck and I went sad.  Of course, hormones were there too.

But, whenever in my life I have stopped moving -- my mood and my heart soon twisted into a downward spiral of depression.  It's why when I was working 50+ hours a week I was also running 20 miles and practicing yoga nearly daily.  It's why when I took off from dancing each summer as a child I got really really irritated all the time.

The body likes to move.  The body has to move! I'd say.  It takes all the crummy stuff going on in the  brain, mixes it around, and turns up solutions.  Like MAGIC.  Suddenly mysteries become clear and problems have answers.  Suddenly hurt feelings disappear.  Chemicals make changes that relax and re-wire us to just feel better.  And we are happier.

These days it isn't easy to find the time.  We have to prioritize exercise, sneak it in in stolen moments just taking the stairs instead of an elevator or walking to the store rather than driving.  Exercise sounds so daunting as a word now, doesn't it?  Like a required chore rather than the joy it really can be.  (that's why I like to say move better) When I move I am joyful -- even if I only get in 5 minutes between feeding and caring for myself and my children  - I am joyful, and it is worth it.

So I move to be healthy.  I move to be happy. I move to not worry so much all the time.  I move to be in my life without a foggy cloud in the way.  Hoping that todays yoga or dance or walk or pilates or whatever I do will lead to longevity, levity and peace.  It has worked so far, so I'll keep finding the time for it.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Looking vs. Being "The Part"

I am coming to the end of this nice long maternity leave and will be returning to teaching in about 2 weeks.  I'm feeling ready.  I miss the students and being in the studio.  I miss the sense of deeply engaging with yoga practice on my own mat and bringing my insights (however random) to the people in the room with me.  It will be lovely to return.


I still have this baby body.  I seriously still look pregnant.  The baby-house is abundantly visible.

The other day in my kitchen I found myself lamenting my appearance.  And worrying about teaching again looking how I look.  "I just don't look the part, I want to look the part" I said to myself.

Luckily,  my mind is getting better and better trained to pick up on unimportant sh*t like that that I just love to feed myself.

Look the Part?
That would suggest that there is a way to "look" to be a yoga teacher.  (hello marketing!)  and that would also suggest that such a "look" is more important than what I actually have to offer.  (hello worthiness!)

I catch myself again and again being swept up in this way.  "I have to look a certain way - I can never be skinny enough" "I have to have a certain amount of education" "I have to be able to do a certain pose" -- then I'll be worth it, beautiful, a good teacher... etc.  But that's all just crap that I keep taking in from who knows where (facebook maybe?) and feeding myself.  And it's all just surface.

In reality, I want to BE the part.  I want to BE an inspiring yoga teacher. I want to BE honest about how my body is in reality at this moment. I want to BE a person who honors the needs of my body when I'm not sleeping through the night, and I carry a 15lb person with me everywhere I go.  I want to keep my connection to Source no matter what I'm doing. I want to honor my children, and every person I come into contact with and really see them.  I want to BE practicing on the mat, eating well, and savoring my life.  I want to BE a woman who lives her yoga honestly and with no apologies, no matter what it looks like.

So that's where I am now.  Stepping back onto the mat every day and meeting myself where I am.  Getting ready to BE back in the studio.  Stepping back into seat of teacher with honesty, humility, and Grace.  Let's see where this will go.