Posts Tagged ‘yoga’

Day 3 of the 21.5.800 challenge. I’m not sure I should refer to it as a challenge — maybe just a community venture. Anyway, I was focusing on my breathing this morning during yoga — I did very well actually. I placed the cell phone just out of my reach and tuned out the noises of my house and began. At the end of my practice, I decided to do the savasana pose to really end on a calm note. For those of you who don’t yoga, savasana is also known as the corpse pose.

Pretty cool, huh? This pose is actually fairly hard for many people — including me. Because it requires you to still yourself, to still your breathing, to tune out the outward world, for a while anyway. I didn’t stay in savasana for very long — maybe a few minutes… but, it was long enough that I was taken away briefly from my house and transported back through time to the many summers I spent at my grandparents house…

As the youngest of four, I was always the token summer offering for my grandparents. This never bothered me actually (maybe a little around my sixteenth birthday but I’ll vent about that in a future post), I enjoyed being the center of attention. But, that’s not all the summers were about. I worked in the garden and helped can vegetables and helped cook and ran to the neighbors to borrow things and to bring them their mail. I ran down the hill to my great Aunt Dot’s house to spy on the neighbors through her window. I explored the fields around the house including the old well and I rode a mini-bike with the cute grandsons of the next door neighbor. I caught lightning bugs at night and counted the bats as they flew around during the evening hours. I would sneak off to the bowling alley with my grandfather and watch him play cards and always promised not to tell my grandmother about the money being exchanged. My summers were filled.

My grandfather was the shopper in the house. Everyday my grandmother made him a list for the store — everyday. And everyday he and I went, to not one, but three different stores to collect each item. The trips to the store with my grandfather were always fun — for several reasons.

Each day we would load up boxes with some of the booty from the garden — potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, watermelon, strawberries — their garden was huge. My grandfather and I would take the stash to each store we visited and go straight to the produce man. We always held hands. His hands were huge and calloused and protective. The produce man would inspect each item and then the fun would start — the bartering. By the time we left the final store, we would only have a few items left in our box — in addition to the items from the list that my grandmother so carefully made each morning. The items that were left over had perhaps the greatest significance to me. My grandfather and I would take the remaining items and wait in the parking lot behind our final stop for the coke truck to drive up — always holding his protective hand. Then, the greatest bartering session would begin — the one that always garnered me a case of coca-cola… in glass bottles, ice-cold.

We would return to show-off all the things we had gathered during our morning bartering sessions to my grandmother — I think my grandfather and I were more impressed with our shopping skills then she was. Then we would sit outside in the scorching hot day and enjoy our cold coca-cola — with his arm around me, smiling and reliving our morning experience. We repeated this scene each day during the summers — it never got old. I was always willing to go with him to the store… even as I got older. Because, the end result of that cold coca-cola and his arm planted firmly around me in the swing was my reward…

My savasana came to an end. I could hear the commotion of kids downstairs — I opened my eyes and was back in my room. Only a few minutes had passed, but my memories of holding hands with Poppy are with me forever. So, I think the breathing worked today — I think I was able to find some inner calm.We’ll see if yoga is able to continue to seep into my daily activities — but right now, I’m going to find a hand to hold and a swing to sit in and maybe I’ll even enjoy a nice cold coca-cola.

Read Full Post »

I started yoga about 5 1/2 months ago. I say “started yoga” instead of “started doing yoga” for a reason — I think once you start yoga it seeps in to all your daily activities, at least that might be the end result… one I haven’t quite achieved yet. Yoga becomes more about how you react and perceive and create — it is more than just the routine or a workout, it is constant… it is with you always. In yoga, one of the most important things to remember to do is breathe — calm, steady, active breaths that help you relax and achieve not only the inner balance but also the physical stamina — and, honestly, I forget to breathe.

I find myself in the middle of yoga holding my breath or breathing too fast — my breath is hard to maintain. I realized a couple of months ago during one of those moments when I was letting yoga seep in to my daily activities, that I forget about maintaining my breathing during most things in my life — while I’m sitting calm or thinking or treadmilling or talking to someone — I forget to breathe. I think my “relax gene” has some issues that need to be sorted out.

This morning, I began my yoga practice and was determined to focus on my breathing above all else — I was determined to remain focused and balanced. So… I began. Within the first five minutes, my phone began buzzing with text messages. (I always keep my phone on the floor near me during yoga — I don’t know why, but this morning I realized it has to change.) Then the laptop began beeping with email notifications. I started to focus on the sounds of my dog and if he needed to go out, I heard my daughter in the refrigerator searching for a morning snack, I peeked at the text messages during downward dog and glanced to see who the emails were from during chair pose. I lost my focus. I began formulating my responses to the texts and the emails and forgot to breathe. That’s about the time, I was doing this, and fell.

I am, apparently, a self-sabotager. I start out with the best intentions — to make a friend smile, to show I care, to share a laugh, to help a child… and I forget to focus and balance and breathe. I lose track of the present and my mind becomes consumed with the what-ifs of the future. The present is my downfall — the present is where my breathing becomes fast or short or ceases… never rhythmic.

Yesterday, I joined a little over 200 people in a project called 21.5.800 created by Bindu Wiles. It’s a way to combine yoga and writing and community. The concept is intriguing and I hope to keep up my end of the writing — at least that was my original intention… to keep up with the writing. But, this morning, on day 2 of the challenge, I think I’m changing my focus. I think my new focus in this challenge is to breathe — steady, calm, rhythmic… and place the cell phone just out of my reach.

So if you see me out, breathing, steady and calm, just know… I’m working on my “relax gene”. I’m working on letting yoga seep in to my daily activities. I’m working on my inner balance and my outward stamina. I’m working on my creativity. I’m working on the present and trying to let the present guide the future. And honestly, sometimes, when I’m doing all that stuff, I forget to breathe.

I’m not sure how many times I’ve used this picture in my posts — it’s one of my favorites from Zebra Sounds. Go visit — you’ll thank me.

Read Full Post »

I’ve been reading “I Am An Emotional Creature”, by Eve Ensler. I’m not afraid to admit that before I even finished the introduction, I had formed a little crush. It’s basically a letter, to me — or I felt like it was to me. I’ve read that introduction many times. It has penetrated my thoughts. I am not an emotional creature.

Most people who know me — who have spent time with me, who have sat down to a drink with me, who have laughed with me — understand that statement. I don’t talk about feelings or thoughts or dreams — rather I didn’t. Not until recently.

I’ve been thinking about the concept of need lately. What it means to need people in your life. I need my kids. I need their smiles and laughter and tears and anger — I need all of them and I’m pretty sure they need me as well (I like to be needed). But, thinking about people who I “need” in my life has always been easy because there have been so few. I forget people, easily. I forget that I needed them for a while. I’m tired of forgetting.

The last year has been an emotional journey for me — I wish I could say it’s over but new chapters are being written everyday. I like to plan. I love the idea of those sports psychologists who help players see in their mind the way they want an event to happen, mental imagery — I do that. I know where I want my journey to take me, sometimes we can be our biggest stumbling blocks.

I started yoga about 3 1/2 months ago. I had never done yoga before and wasn’t sure if I would be able to handle the “kumbaya” of it. But, I had met some people who said all positive things about it — so I gave it a try. I think yoga might have saved me on several occasions since then. It has saved my health, physically and emotionally. I’ve been on a journey to reclaim myself and yoga has helped me stay focused and centered and reminded me to breathe — I like to be reminded to breathe.

So I thought I would share some things that I’m looking forward to in the upcoming year:

  1. I’m looking forward to a trip to spend time with my dearest friend in the world.
  2. I’m looking forward to relying on myself and being independent again.
  3. I’m looking forward to laughing everyday with my kids.
  4. I’m looking forward to chances to meet new friends.
  5. I’m looking forward to doing yoga.
  6. I’m looking forward to conquering the treadmill.
  7. I’m looking forward to smaller clothes.
  8. I’m looking forward to trips to the lake to feed the ducks.
  9. I’m looking forward to reading some great novels.
  10. I’m looking forward to all my tomorrows.

Now it’s your turn. What are you looking forward to?

Read Full Post »

The New Year is just literally minutes away. I’m sure this is a time when everyone sits around and reflects on the year they just had — reliving the good times and the bad times. My thoughts have been ever increasingly focused on the future — what does it hold for me and my family… how can I make this the year that is different. The last several New Year’s have been rung in very unceremoniously — life seemed to have other ideas of what should be important and what should be put off until later. I suppose this year is fairly unceremonious as well (given the fact that I am sitting in a hotel room as my family sleeps while I watch the ball drop on Times Square), except that I am in Disney World and my outlook has already began to change.

When I was growing up, watching Dick Clark on New Years’s was the next best thing to actually going out to celebrate. Actually, there were times when I thought it must have been better. Although I loved to watch all the people gathered there, the thought of being among them was never given much credence. Too many people, too cold, too much hassle to get there — way too many too’s.

I think that what makes New Year’s so appealing to everyone is the carte blanche effect. You know, it’s like the worlds biggest do-over. And, on top of the do-over, you get to create new expectations for yourself — the resolution. You know me and my need to google things. I thought I better google New Years Resolution and see what came up.

Here’s what it said: A New Year’s resolution is a commitment that an individual makes to a project or the reforming of a habit, often a lifestyle change that is generally interpreted as advantageous. The name comes from the fact that these commitments normally go into effect on New Years Day.

Making resolutions seems to be the light-hearted part of the whole New Years experience — really, who ever keeps them? I can’t remember ever committing to a resolution I made on New Years — until now. I actually started putting my resolutions into effect about a month ago (I wanted to get the jump on everyone else). So, I’ll share some of mine… out loud. The out loud part is significant isn’t it? Let’s people know you are serious.

  1. Get Healthy
  2. Leap
  3. Read more fun things — for me
  4. Re-kindle a passion for an activity I used to love — tennis, guitar, piano
  5. Laugh more with my girls from work (although that may be seriously impossible, we laugh all the time as it is)
  6. Wash my car once a week (I love it when the tires are so clean they look wet)
  7. Yoga everyday
  8. Breathe

Ok, so I came up with eight that I’ll share. That seems to be a good start. Now, it’s your turn — any resolutions you’re willing to share, out loud?

Happy New Year!

Read Full Post »