Sunday, January 31, 2010

normal range of movement creates integration of yoga

"Creating the normal range of movement and alignment is the integration of yoga."--JL

Judith actually suggested that yoga is not the cure-all. (gasp!) I think there are many of us as teachers, me included who have come to believe that yoga is the answer to... whatever the question might be. I would like to hear Judith talk more about her theory... However, I think her whole point (with normal range of movement- rather than create hyper-flexibility) was in our quest for more and more challenging asanas. I have this pose, so now I will work on this one... which is not bad in and of itself, however now I should look at whether the value of the asana outweighs the danger of it to the body.

All coming back around to ahimsa, non-harming. Which is so foundational to living a life rooted in yoga. Judith wrote a great article on this for yoga journal. It's hard to determine by ourselves what normal range of movement is if what we've been doing (either nothing or too much) clouds our reality. Often, we need to move into the full range of a pose then back away find a sense of ease in it (showing restraint and wisdom in our mobility).

OK-- on to building a train out of pillows with the boys. Could be dangerous with all the wrestling, tackling, and tickling but the fun far outweighs the danger. : )



Friday, January 29, 2010

Utthita Trikonasana

"Teach the body, not the pose."-- JL

There were several poses, Tadasana, Utthita Trikonasana (triangle), Parvrtta Trikonasana (revolved triangle), Adho Muka Svanasana (downward facing dog), and a few others that Judith teaches very differently from what most of us were taught (in a room of 60 plus people). Here are the notes I managed to scribble down.

Utthita Trikonasana (Triangle pose):

hips: do not hold the hip back or think of the body as being in between two planes of glass because it stresses the lip of the hip joint to pull it back. ("let's stop the yogi hip injury epidemic!" just try to move one side of your hip without moving the other- you can't). "just because something is familiar, doesn't mean it's good for you. having softness in your hip is not the same as weakness."

legs & feet: line up the heel of the front foot with the middle arch of the back foot (so that you pay attention to your feet!). create equal standing, rooting through the heels. back foot is neither supinated nor pronated and at a 45 degree angle ("turn your back toes in"). turn front foot slightly out to rotate the femur (this prevents hyper extension of the knee and contracts the quads automatically). feet should be "the proper distance" - it's not the same for everyone. allow thighs to part like the red sea, turning your front thigh out. your knee is the prisoner of the foot and hip (take care to not lock it out)

hands: if you place weight on the hand (into the floor or block), the pose becomes more of a stretch for the hamstrings. if no weight is in the hands, then the pose is strength oriented.

head: look either forward or toward the floor; rotating the head upward does not follow the law of side bending and rotation (when you rotate to the right, you side bend right but the cervical vertebrae (1-2) turn the opposite way. so when you rotate C1-C2 left in a right triangle, you go against gravity or the normal rotation and strains the neck (the head is 12-20lbs!)). if it doesn't hurt at first... just hold it a while and see what happens. "keep your brain still and rotate your body around it"

breath: exhale and turn the diaphragm up

teacher adjustment: place hand near crease of front thigh and other hand gently above wrist and guide them forward to alignment, letting hip go forward; how does that feel?


Thursday, January 28, 2010

without complaint

"Live a life without complaint."-- JL

I talked with a fellow yogi and friend yesterday and found myself going on and on about something. When I took a deep breath (to continue on my rant), I caught myself... I took in all of the stuff I had just said and immediately felt a wash of "ugh!".

Then, later I was attempting to open a twitter account (evidently Judith L twitters quotes (which I love)- who isn't twittering besides me?! Goodness!) and saw a quote from JL: "Dare to live a life without complaint!" Oh goodness. Well, then my best friend called, and I retold the story to her. Complaining that now I should not be complaining.

It's interesting when things are brought into the light and you become aware. For me that's what defines yoga, to become aware- good / bad, whatever. Not to "try to be good" but just to draw that focus to what I'm doing or saying that impact my well-being and those around me. Have you noticed the more you try NOT to do something (not eat that ice cream, not to complain, to restrain or cut from your life) the more it calls to you!? So rather than cut or remove it- acknowledge it's there then make a conscious choice to either do it or not. The act of choosing will diminish the power of whatever it is that seems to have a hold on you.



Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Yoga Sutra 2.46

Sthira Sukham Asanam

The body at ease is asana. Being at ease is the root of yoga.

Yoga Sutra 2.46

There's a tendency of over-stretching and more of an emphasis on flexibility than ease in most classes. The over-stretching can cause repetitive use injuries over time. Might not hurt today but repeating a pose over and over with incorrect alignment through time will. "We have suffering if we don't honor our bodies natural movement. Trust in the body's natural wisdom rather than what your mind tells you."-- JL

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Are you willing?



"Are you willing?"-- Judith Lasater

For 5 days, before Judith did anything that involved someone else, (adjust, consider a new thought or action, etc.) she asked this question. Certainly not a new idea- and a phrase I usually use is: would you consider or just for today, would you consider... But I think willingness and considering are different. Willingness is certainly more powerful-- while considering is pondering or mulling over something. When we ask permission we're much more likely to get the desired result while showing respect to the other person -- and be able to go farther with it because now that person has agreed -- out loud. This week, I'm giving it a try. So far so good... my kids are unsuspecting and most cooperative. (Although, doesn't quite have the same affect when you say are you willing to do your homework. There are no options there!)

Are you willing? Sometimes I wonder if I am willing and wouldn't it be nice if someone asked me that question? : )


Monday, January 25, 2010

Adaptable

Completed 23 hours of Anatomy training this past week- and my head is completely spinning thinking about how I will apply the knowledge gained of bones, muscles and nerves without completely freaking out my classes. (; ) )

A beautiful way that Judith described yoga is that "yoga is more about adaptability rather than flexibility." Flexibility is a side benefit to yoga, while the aim is continuously adapt- be willing and open to view something from another angle. Just taking another teacher's class or even a different type of yoga, and rather than thinking that's not the way I learned it... adapt.

On the flip side, she noted that not enough people walk out of yoga classes when the teacher is instructing in a way that is contraindicated to the body (harmful- ahimsa). Be adaptable and yet allow your yoga to be one that is challenging yet easeful.

Learning to adapt off the mat, out of the yoga room, is my challenge this week. Really it's more about letting go of trying to control things. I often tell myself this wonderful lie, "I am in complete control of my (emotions, my children...)". I'm learning to see situations in life as they really are and releasing my grip. It's not in my hands anyway.

Adapting!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Respect

Within minutes of coming home to my brother's house last night, I failed my homework assignment. Had a long 30 minute conversation with my niece, (which for a teenager is an eternity!) about finances. Within 30 seconds, I found my motherly tone and began giving her that all too familiar advise. (Remember conversations with your mom at that age? It was like the scene in Charlie Brown with the teacher saying "wah, wah, wah", rolling of the eyes, no eye contact, sighing, and now texting while I'm talking to her?! We couldn't do that back then...) By the end, I was lecturing her on respect. I even quoted Judith (to make myself sound more authoritative which I'm sure I did to her teenage ears), saying "you can never show someone too much respect".

By then, the conversation was over. Well, I imagine the conversation ended even before it began. So this all brings me to the first homework assignment that Judith gave us on day one: "What is the greatest lie we tell ourselves?" For example, I will start that _____ on Monday. I will only take one bite. I will not yell. I will clean out that_____. I will call her later. I'll forgive when____. I will not try to convince anyone of anything because I know I am not always right. (Truthfully, we're never completely right!) You get the gist.

This must be one of my lies: I will listen, not lecture, nor give advise. My opinion does matter, and it is so important that everyone know how I feel because my way -- doing it my way-- can change lives! Can even change the world!! My way! Yikes.... a little too much me (ego or ahamkara).

The best part about a new day is the opportunity to begin again. I don't even have to wait for a new day- just this moment. Begin again. And again. again. And, observing where I am today and not judging myself for it. Realizing that I can have these feelings-- recognize my I-am-ness and still be true to who I am and at the same time, I can also soften the edges of myself by showing humility, not always feeling the need to express verbally those feelings, and practicing that communication mudra. Now what was that again? : )

To a new day,

Melissa

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Communication Mudra

Judith Lasater, author, student and teacher of almost 40 years. Before I was born, she was already teaching yoga. Not to put an emphasis on age... just to make it crystal clear that my entire life she was doing what I only discovered a mere 6 years ago. In her words, "yoga is 5000 years old; we're all beginners". Furthermore, she said she felt like she was just now starting to get it. Well, if Judith, who in my opinion, has a wealth of knowledge and what many teachers out there don't have yet: years and years of instructing and experimenting and growing through yoga, is a beginner, then wow, 'who am I'? Not 'what am I'? But 'who am I to be teaching'?

Our homework assignment tonight: "stop trying to convince anyone of anything". Don't tell your students this is the "right or only way". Just offer options. Give suggestions. Speak from your own experience. And, this goes for your home life, too. Ever try to persuade a child/ teen that it's better not to______ (fill in the blank)?

Here's a new mudra (credit to Judith...): Open your mouth & inhale. Place your tongue between your teeth and bite down. (Got it?)

"Communication is not about what we say, it's about what the other person hears." I don't know about you, but I had to read that again. I think we all know that but unless we are willing to apply that mudra... then, we may never get to use the most powerful part of communication, simply listening.

Before you think that I'm not actually learning any anatomy... she manages to weave in philosophy, sound bites of her past experiences (life), and anything else that pops into her head. And, yes, a lot of anatomy with lovely restorative asanas. ahhh

Just staying true to who I am, nothing more or less. And practicing a new mudra. : )

Namaste,

Mel

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Backbending

"Reach for Sukha or comfort. Creating spaciousness in the back."-- Susi

Monday we did backbending, heart openers in my Hatha 2 class. Backbends create flexibility, elasticity and strength in the spine. Not only that, but they lengthen the muscles (stretch) of the abdominals, tone & massage the abdominal and pelvic organs, strengthen leg & arm muscles. I think the most powerful aspect is how it can allow and bring a release of emotions. It's very exposing- your chest is wide open- you're moving to a point that your armpits open to the world. It's the ultimate anti-depressant! It also requires courage and a sense of adventure... or maybe for those of us who are more timid, helps to cultivate that part of us that we often hold back (by rounding our shoulders and having a slumped posture.) Right now, stand up, open your arms to the sky, lift your chin and lean back softly. Breathe. Breathe. How can you not smile when your arms are open to give and receive?

"Our body is a like a water hose, energy flows from the inside out to take all the kinks out."-- C Sells




Tuesday, January 19, 2010

206 bones



206 bones... I only have to know the major ones. And draw the abdominal organs (my favorite to talk about in class!), anterior and posterior sacrum, 2 views of lumbar and cervical spine... channeling my inner artist. Too bad I didn't inherit my wonderful Aunt Paula's artist skills... Off to Dallas I go for Judith Lasater's Anatomy Teacher Training. I am beside myself excited! After sorting out all the logistics with the kids (rides to practice, games and the all important... mom, "how and what will I eat while you're gone?!" Note to Nathan's future bride: (many, many years from now), the way to this guy's heart-- a great steak, lots of fruit (strawberries) and anything chocolate for desert. And, he's all set.)

I think one of the most outstanding things that I've learned thus far in reviewing Judith's book, is that while I have a good grasp of the overview... I really know just about nothing. Humbling.

Diagnosis is always harder for me than general anatomy (in other words, yoga therapy... when someone complains of numbness in their legs, for example-- it could be compression of the nerves along the spine or...) I always, always tell them I am obviously not a doctor- and if pain persists, please, please go see one.

The saying, the more I learn, the less I know... so true when it comes to the miracle of our body.

"If anything is sacred, the human body is sacred."-- Walt Whitman



Sunday, January 17, 2010

Yoga Sutra 1.23

Yesterday I attended Stephanie Perry-Bush's Yoga Nidra workshop. She's just lovely and her tone of voice is perfect for yoga nidra. She began with an introduction to what yoga nidra is and a review of the kosha's (all this I missed, sadly, in part to making sure registrations were taken care of)... but I did get to enjoy a lovely practice of yoga nidra (total relaxation) which I had not done since I took Yoga Therapy with Chrys Kub in Atlanta this past October (Ahhhh... so amazing!).

A great resource for Yoga Nidra and setting Sankalpa's is Rod Stryker's website. There are also some you can down load from itunes... just listen to the voices and make sure it's one that you might enjoy listening to for the 10-30 minute duration.

I must have really needed it-- floating in and out of the wake-sleep feeling. Not really awake and yet not asleep. At one point my sinuses were draining so much that I felt as if I would have a coughing fit. Fortunately for us all, I managed to suppress the urge. I suppose the most beautiful part was really taking a moment to focus and repeat a sankalpa (resolution or intention). I blogged about this a short while back-- consistency-- in practice, in live, etc. was what I set for myself for the year. While that is still the case. I revised it a bit.

Isvara prandihandad va

Samadhi is obtained by devotion with total surrender to the divine.

Yoga Sutra 1.23

Or in other words, surrender to God. To surrender. Surrender. Surrendered.

I could go on and on on this one- with my background as a Christian-- but reconciling to the fact that while I still believe in the fundamentals of Christianity, I have been opened to an entirely new world that has broadened my beliefs and yet grounded and solidified me all the more. So without getting entirely too spiritual here-- and certainly not taking myself too seriously... However, isn't surrender what life is about? In a world of give and take, compromise and since we're not all living in an isolated cave somewhere (or modern families maybe we are?!)...

We are more than our body. We are a soul. And that soul has a hole that must be filled. How do you fill that inner longing for something more- something greater than yourself? BUT I also believe that we are already whole and complete just as we are. That I am perfect just as I am. Yes, I do believe that but living like I am "whole" is another matter. And, I think if look deep within ourselves... there is that longing, calling, hole, purpose, duty or Dharma that is undeniably there. Examining that Dharma will reveal what our sankalpa is.

Surrendered,

Melissa

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ishvara prandihana

"Ishvara pranidhana could be called "heartfulness" practice; it awakens our constant devotion to the Source of life and keeps our hearts open to the Divine in every moment, no matter what arises."- Shiva Rea

I'm grateful to someone I consider a mentor, Stephanie at Flow, who's life, I feel is living yoga. Every month at her studio, she choses a topic from yoga philosophy to focus on. Committed to growing her students spiritually, not just physically. Her next topic: Ishvara Prandihana.

When I can take away the "me" from the mat, replace it with a form of surrender, then I am cultivating a sense of ishvara pradihana. That surrender to me is to God. Allowing my practice to be one of emptying myself of will and desire and going beyond how I have defined myself- good or bad. I'm often tempted to beat my self up mentally for not "getting a pose" that I have been working on time and again. As soon as I let go of the striving, generally it comes with ease. Generally. If I'm completely real, yoga does not come naturally for me at all. Even as a kid, wanting to be a dancer, I always had to dedicate myself and work twice as hard as my peers just to get my body to do certain moves or sequences of steps. Even now, I may not be the smartest chicken in the coop, but I certainly am creative and can work hard... that pitta nature pouring out. But, unless I'm truly empty of myself, very little comes easy. At all. I have to practice and practice and practice to get some poses that seem to come so effortless for others. And, then I remind myself, as I do my classes every time, that it's not about anyone else but you on the mat. When I turn my eyes inward, I see the weaknesses and the strengths that my body and soul bring to yoga, and I simply try to make peace with it. Where I am today, how I feel today, without dwelling on those failures and certainly not dwelling on the successes because tomorrow will be an entirely different practice. It always is.


Making peace with practice,

Mel

Friday, January 15, 2010

In need of restoration

"Every Man is a builder of a temple called his body."-- Henry David Thoreau

You're wondering if I have backed up my computer? Satya, which means truth... nope, I haven't. Nothing like a blog for a little accountability, though. I'll get right on it... later.... after the boys breakfast, after I teach 2 classes, after I meet up with a friend I haven't seen in ages, after I fix the boys a snack, after I take them to the dentist, after I fix dinner (do I really have to feed them 3, 4, 5 times a day?! ; ) ), after I rest... hum.

I've blogged about busy-ness before but now, right this moment in my life, it seems everything is in the urgent category. Finances, teaching, life, love, need for restoration.... I woke up with a very sore throat yesterday and gradually felt more and more lethargic as the day wore on. I did have the opportunity to sub a restorative class last night. It would have been lovely to take the restorative class, instead.

But, there's something about leading a group of practitioners into a state of calm that they may not have experienced before. A blessing. I had one student comment afterwards that this is just not for him. He said he wasn't patient enough. I told him, you can't afford NOT to be patient with you. You're the only YOU you have. Unless you take care of yourself, honoring the body you have, it will surely let you know in other ways (a sore throat, for instance), that it's in need of a rest. So, how do I, as I teacher take my own advise. The only way I know to do it is, turn off. Turn off the computer, the phone, and schedule specific time for rest and recovery. If I don't, it simply won't happen.

"Body and soul are not two substances but one. They are man becoming aware of himself in two different ways."-- C.F. Von Weizsacker

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Safety Sally

No sooner did I make this last post saying... "I should back up my computer"... and then it happened. Nothing happened. My computer wouldn't even turn on. Almost a week later (or what feels like at least that long to someone who's clearly too attached to her computer), it's repaired. The most remarkable thing of all? No charge! I don't have a warranty, I didn't back it up... and yet everything not only worked itself out, it taught me some huge lessons.

1. Where is 'Safety Sally'? She would have backed up her computer every day. Instead, I'm 'Risky Rhonda'... never backing up and well... no good can come of that. (Is it laziness? the desire for risk?)
2. I'm way too dependent on my computer and technology in general. (mind you, I had access to email without my laptop... but I'm entirely too spoiled because everything is on my laptop...) Aparigraha (non- grasping- clearly a Yama that I need more clarity on)
3. I was just fine without it. In fact, I cleaned and purged the entire upstairs (no matter that the boys unsorted (played!) within minutes of sorting toys...) (Apraigraha, again, non-hoarding!)
4. I'm a much happier, calmer mother and have more focused time when I'm not keeping one eye on my email and the other on them. (Drishti- single pointed focus... needs improvement)

I'm looking forward to Stephanie's workshop this weekend, setting Sankalpas (a resolution or set intention) and pushing past my Samskara's (repeated patterns of behavior- like an annoying song playing on a loop that define who you think you are as a person.)

In need of letting go of actions that do not serve me or my children and making intentional choices on how I spend my time- with regard to technology... do we really need to be that connected? What do you think?


Friday, January 8, 2010

Music Memories

Music is powerful. When you hear a song, aren't you magically transported to when and where you first heard it or to when the song had the most meaning to you? At the risk of dating myself, I'll share my music history.

As a child, I can remember playing the Nutcracker Suite on a record player in my living room, dancing around, dreaming of being a prima ballerina. Discovering Beethoven 5th and Chicago's Saturday in the Park on old 45's my dad had was equally as memorable. Later, Growing up in Dallas, Texas, I had a neighbor who loved country music and all things Tammy Wynette who stood by her man, and we sang to eight tracks of Loretta Lynne's Coal Miner's Daughter and Chrystal Gayle (who didn't want that hair?) at the top of our lungs in my backyard on the swingset, I'm sure thinking no one was listening. Then, I watched Fame, the entire album was an anthem to who I wanted be and wished for as a little girl -- to dance. So after, my first prized yellow Sony walkman in the 80's had me listening to Duran Duran and Rick Springfield (equipped with Tiger Beat magazine posters on my walls of my favorites). Michael Jackson's Thriller had a huge impact on me with the zipper jackets, parachute pants, and moon walk (which I perfected with some glee). With each year, a defining song... dressing, dancing, and singing to Like a Virgin by Madonna. I even had a 7th grade English teacher who I secretly worshiped who looked just like Madonna with all her bangles, cool cut up clothes and bleached-blond hair. However, the slow dance songs of the 80's (Air Supply's All out of Love, still invokes a tear or two when I'm having a lonely day) were always a downer for me, since I was boyfriend-less until High School. In High School, I dated someone who listened to Randy Travis, Alabama, and Jimmy Buffet (Margaritaville- never mind that I never had a Margarita before- and not until my late 20's! But, that's for another blog writing.). I rapped with a fellow drill teamer who cranked up Bust-A-Move and Run D MC as loud as it would go in her lemon-yellow colored caddie as she drove us to practice and games day in and day out. College in the 90's, were my country music years, equipped with rocky mountain jeans and ropers (boots) and huge hair as I two-stepped my way through with the Judd's, Brooks and Dunn, Alan Jackson, and of course, the legend, George Straight with songs too many to name. I also began to teach group fitness classes in the 90's but this is where my music gets generic. I started purchasing pre-made cd's of step music to play for my classes and stopped actually listening to the music. I know, it's hard to believe. But, I didn't care what I played because it all sounded the same to me, with the 135-148bpm (we played it way too fast to be safe in those days). So, there's a decade, while transitioning to motherhood, where I really didn't listen to much music. I enjoyed it but didn't really get into it, other than some contemporary Christian praise and worship music. Until around '08... when we returned home from Malaysia, I discovered itunes. I'm always a slow adopter for new things. Now, I cannot imagine playing a pre-set cd for spinning or yoga. It's shameful how many songs I have now on my computer. (That reminds me, I need to back up my computer.) I am really enjoying it more than I ever imagined. Songs are so powerful. I'm loving discovering new music- of every genre and incorporating them into class.

At a few students requests, here's the playlist from Wednesday's Vinyasa Class... Would love to hear what your favorite songs are - and as always, I take song requests.

(song, artist, album)

Canyon People, R. Carlos Nakai
Bolo Ram, Wah!, The Best of Wah!
Youthless, Beck, Modern Guilt
Drummer's Reel, Dhol Foundation, Big Drum: Small World
See You In The Light, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Yell Fire!
Om Narayana, Wade Imre Morissette, Sargam Scales of Music
Universal Traveler, Air, Talkie Walkie
Let Me Be Sky, Jai Uttal, Thunder Love
Food Is Still Hot, Karen O And The Kids , Where The Wild Things Are
Falling Slowly, Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova, Once (Music from the Motion Picture)
There Is So Much Magnificence , Steve Gold
Encore, Soulfood, Mystic Canyons

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Bhakti Yoga

"... to love without any ulterior motive, loving God and loving goodness because it is good to do so: not for going to heaven, or got get wealth or anything else. God Himself is love. So long as you see a person love another to get something, you may know that it is not true love; it is shopkeeping. Love is always the giver, never the taker. The nature of real love is that it does not ask for anything in return. Love knows no fear. Where do you ever see love in fear?"-- Pathways to Joy

Loving a child, parent or sibling is like this. Sometimes, in the case of a child, all they have to do is smile and all the other hurts or behaviors that they have just done melt away. With a partner, that love is harder- that relationship is a circle of respect that shows love and love that shows respect. When the circle is broken, to continue to love without condition is difficult. However, I believe it is a choice. We chose our path, we chose our mates, we chose to live a life that's positive, or we dwell in mud puddle of the negative. We have a choice.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happiness Project

"Although we think that we act because of the way we feel, we often feel because of the way we act... so act the way you want to feel. When annoyed, act thoughtful. When you feel resentful, act lighthearted."-- Gretchen Rubin of the Happiness Project

"Don't React. Act"-- Anand


NPR has a new series on happiness-- This emotional life-- which gives a lot of insight into this illusive happiness that we are all searching for. I love Elizabeth Gilbert's take on porcupine love... they come together for warmth and yet because of their quills, they end up pricking each other... those that can keep a safe distance, and yet still stay warm, find the most contentment... something to think about. Letting go of attachment (aparigraha)- to the idea of love or how your life should be... being satisfied with life and simply finding more positive things than negative ones to dwell on, she feels is the simple secret to happiness. While that sounds good in the short term, I feel like happiness is so fleeting. Joy. Joy is what I long for daily. Joy stays with you and cannot be taken from you, while happiness comes and goes with our circumstances.

How do you find happiness? Lasting joy?

"Happiness comes from experiences we have with people we love"-- unknown



Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Yoga Sutra 2.43

Kayedria Siddhir Asuddhi Ksayah Tapasah.

When you practice yoga sensory perception awakens more.

YS 2.43

Tapas means to burn or create heat. It can also mean accepting but not causing suffering (ahimsa) in order to purify the body and mind. Tapas is the ultimate self-discipline, which is the power to control the body and it's senses. If we accept everything (finding the benefit even in painful situations or circumstances) or even happiness (which is temporary also), what can affect us?

"Tapas is necessary. "No" is easier in the moment. Going to the unknown is the challenge." --Anand


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Resolutions

"When you're softer on yourself, then you will be softer with others."-- Anand

My yoga "practice" does not have to be hard, and certainly not all of the time. A sufferfest in spinning or even yoga, while I'll admit feels good and creates prana (energy) in the short term, it isn't sustainable for me on a daily basis. Just to be consistent is what I hope for in the long run.

Both boys followed me this morning to the bathroom to have a "serious talk". (Note to self- more intentional time with the boys, so they don't feel like they have to follow me to the restroom to get my attention!) Nathan (8) asked Andrew (4) what his new year's resolutions were... I didn't even know he knew what a resolution was. After further clarification, he just wanted to know what Andrew's plan was for today. Pretty wise, coming from an 8 year old. Kids just live in the moment. Why is it so hard for adults to do that? Other than the obvious (we must be responsible and plan for the future...)

So, my new year's resolution? I used to make elaborate lists of what I wanted to do, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Now, I just pick one thing. Last year, it was to grow in my teaching and practice through training which resulted in my 500 RYT. This year, consistency. Consistency in yoga practice, in how I parent my children, in maintaining relationships, in what I eat, say and do... and of course, to live in the moment.

Enjoying the present moment,

Mel

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A New Year

"In the silences that accompany a strong internal relationship with the self we see not only the truth of our present circumstances and a way forward but we also realize how short our stay is on this earth. Life awaits for us in this internal marriage (vow to self)...Life is to be taken to the tilt, you do not have forever, and therefore, why wait?" -- David Whyte

A friend text me a New Year's greeting "In spite of a year of hardship (family separations, a cancer scare, work that is few and far between) we've counted our blessings (there was no cancer, we have healthy children who fight with each other often but are the best of friends, & remind us daily of how fortunate we are to be here and taking care of them) and knowing that the new year will bring renewed strength, recovery and joy."

The challenges and optimism of others remind me of the blessings in own life. And, within me, I recognize a renewed sense of purpose, clarity, and courage to face an unknown path in the new year. To truly LIVE.

Blessings,

Mel

Friday, January 1, 2010

Peace




Taking a week long break in Santa Fe to visit my dad with my boys, was both difficult and refreshing. It's always hard to witness how progressed my step mom's Alzheimer's has gotten-- at only 62. However, it was touching at how tender and patient my father, her husband and sole caretaker is. When faced with uncertainty and unexpected life changing events, diseases, or situations, how do we respond? We have a choice to do so with grace or not. With joy (not happiness) or not... can we find that sense of peace that we are searching for?

A devotional I read in last week's Christmas Eve class:

"It seems peace is uncomfortable in our culture. It doesn't make itself at home or seem to stay for long. Peace came in a small package. Peace. May it heal the rifts that rise between us. Kiss the scrapes and wounds of our soul. May peace come like the pinkest dawn and flood the landscape of our days with firm and unshakable Shalom. "If we have no peace, it's because we've forgotten that we belong to each other." (Mother Teresa)"-- L. McLeory