Tuesday, August 24, 2010
There have been several days already when my back has ached, or I've been deliriously busy, or something has distracted me and it's been hard to practice yoga. I have to teach yoga, at least every-other day, and I've found that practicing makes my teaching better. Practicing also makes me much more patient with the kids I take care of, and my husband, and basically everything. It's become more than just, "I have to get through the practice." It is a discipline. It has focused my mind and soothed my soul, even if my back muscles are sore today.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Happiness has always been a bit tricky for me. Even as a child I wallowed in the mellow dramatic, insisting that the whole world was against me, or doomed by some horrible fate. And lately, with the BP oil spill, which has lead me to discover more oil spills all over the world, and the still struggling battle in the Afghanistan and Iraq, I have had many reasons to loathe this existence. A funny thing has been happening, however, I don't loathe life. The Buddha taught me that all life is suffering. And yoga has taught me that it is how you deal with that suffering that matters. Where I would once cry in bed for hours wondering what in the world I could do to save the starving children in India, I now realize that the joy and hope starts at home. I go out and share the lightness of yoga with other people. I've been trying to be that tiny pebble thrown into the big sea, watching my ripples move beyond my home. Sometimes, I do get caught up in the worries of the world. And then I have to hold some crazy bound warrior for an ungodly amount of time, and I everything on the outside fades away. All I am is breath and blood. I can only share so much of my blood, but my breath is infinite. It has sustained me through some very hard times, and has been my connection to all the life in this world. I only hope that through my teaching, and my prana, I can help other people find there breath, and connection.
I was at a family gathering this weekend and my uncle mentioned how long it has been since I've posted on my blog. I realized it has been about 2 weeks without updates! And, oh! do I have updates! The past couple of weeks have been amazing. Let's start at the beginning.
My husband and I went to Cedar Point. We are both huge roller coaster fans, so this is an annual tradition of ours. I love being thrown at the earth at over 100 mph! Being a coaster professional, I know very well the benefits of post amusement park yoga. The increased pull on your spine alone from many of those rides, makes me want to hold uttanasana (forward fold) for 30 minutes. So at 11pm, after a long day of being flung through space, I rolled out my mat and decompressed. I have never felt better falling asleep after a long day at Cedar Point.
I have taken at lot of what I learned in that restorative workshop and woven it into my daily home practice. I did primarily restorative postures for my post-CP practice, and I used it every night during my backpacking adventure later in the week.
Normally, when I camp, I don't practice. Yoga for me is first and foremost a meditative practice. When I am in the woods, I already feel calm and don't need to meditate. However, I promised myself I would do yoga EVERY day, no exceptions! So I invented some strange melding of power vinyasa and restorative poses that could be done at night inside my tent.
I went backpacking, not typical camping. My husband and I carried everything we needed several miles into the forest. My yoga mat got left behind. This got me thinking. Why do I NEED my mat to practice? Shouldn't I be able to do some form of yoga no matter where I am? It rained everyday we were in the woods, and the ground remained a soggy mess of old leaves. If it had been dry I would have practiced outside, under the trees and stars. Instead, I practiced inside my little tent. This tent is so small that I couldn't fit my "down dog" into it. I found ways, through mostly core exercises to create a great internal heat. I even did some modified sun salutations, where I used child's pose in place of down dog. It was a great learning experience.
At some points during my practice in the woods, my breath seemed to echo the songs of the frogs and crickets. Yoga became even more of an amazing meditative process. I have never felt so at peace in the middle of a forest before. It was as if the woods and I were connected. The universal prana, the life that connects everything, was tangible during my yoga practice. I have left that week feeling an even greater since of camaraderie to all beings of this planet- from the little spider that made a web in my tent, to the fawn and doe that wandered into my camp, and now the squirrels in my backyard. I am beginning to understand that human beings are not at all separate from the animal kingdom or natural world. We may try to distance ourselves, but in the end, we are all the same breath, the same prana, the same inhaling and exhaling life force.