I start to push into my elbows, forearms and palms then begin to inch my feet towards the top ofmy mat. I lift up one leg and start to take tiny hops, using core strength rather than momentum, and up I go into Pincha Mayurasana (forearm stand). I’ve been here before, many times with a wall, and more recently without for a breath or two. But today, I take one, two and then three breaths. Something is happening, I feel so aligned and perfectly stacked that I take breath, nine, ten and eleven. I feel as if I could hold the pose for minutes. I take myself down by choice – not falling out of the pose and my heartbeat is thumping in my chest. This inversion makes me feel strong, but more than that it makes me feel brave. Kind of like a super hero! So for eleven breaths and then the few moments after I come out of a pose, I feel on top of the world. Look at me! I balance on my forearms – look how far I’ve come! And physically I have come far in my practice. But it’s behind the physical journey that I have made big strides and huge changes. I can stack my bones and joints and balance on my hands or arms, but inside I feel aligned which makes me feel complete just as I am. The release of the pose gives me a sense of satisfaction, a rush, dare I say a high. But this high doesn’t come from a substance, a drink, a drug or a pill. This practice has aligned me to my true self where I no longer need any of that to be myself, to love, and to be happy. Here on my mat, alone in my body and soul just as it is, I am complete.
One of my favorite things to explore is perspective. The way we look at our situation defined by our prior experiences, view points projected on us by society and family, our collection of beliefs denoting how “things” should be. Life is unpredictable and full of change. This can be terrifying or it can be looked at as a great adventure. The ability to flip the light on the situation is like adding an Instagram filter. It can take something that looks ordinary or perhaps dissapointing and brightens it up – it’s not so bad anymore.
At one point, I had everything planned out. I would get married at around 23 or 24 so I could have kids at about 27. I could picture it all in my mind clear as day. Well, tomorrow I’ll turn thirty-one. I am single, have never been married and don’t have any kids. But I do have my freedom, my independence and a closer relationship to myself than I ever had before. At one time, this to me would’ve been a let down. Like I somehow got off track and was behind where I am supposed to be. But now, when I get married I will make a better wife; free of the insane jealousy that used to haunt my every thought in relationships. I will be a fantastic mother. I have grown up and learned many tough lessons along the way – but I’ve learned how to love. So I can view my situation in this way – focus on who I have become and what I will be or cry about being single and alone. You tell me what sounds more appealing? This is just one filter I can use. Another? Well being married with kids wouldn’t have allowed me the flexibilty to pursue my goals and dreams in my career, or perhaps, the right person is just around the corner and now the timing is right. Pick any filter but not the grey, crappy, negative one.
We can’t plan for life. We take what we get and the only thing we have control over is our perspective and how we accept what we are given. This is a practice – a talent of sort. Being aware of when you feel let down, less than enough, or flat out lost and then flip it – see it in a new filter. Find the bright and shiny to each situation because there is ALWAYS some light.
The car in front of me with New York plates, says INARUSH. Well, I am too. We are all in rush. So many obligations day to day; getting to work on time, picking up your kids, taking care of pets and making appointments, paying bills, grocery shopping, and cleaning the house. The list is even longer than this but you get the idea. In a such a busy world how is possible to get that much needed time to recharge your batteries? The answer: SLOW DOWN. It might sound either really obvious or impossible. Obvious because slowness and a few leisurely moments are the antidote to the stressful life that most of us lead, but impossible because you say; “How can I slow down with all this stuff to get done?”
Second part of the answer: PRIORITIZE. What is most important to you? Who is most important to you? The answer has to be YOU. If you take care of yourself first, everything else will absolutely fall into place. You will be a better parent (think: yelling at the kids when you’re exhausted and frustrated). You will be a better lover (think: I’m too tired tonight, again). You will be more efficient in the day to day tasks you need to complete. You will a better you.
Lastly, be very flexible in your definition of down-time or “me-time”. Some days it might be a 75 minute yoga class. Other days, a jog outside or a cycling class. And on the best days, it will be both plus a hot shower and a nap afterwards. But other days, the down time will be one deep breath in through your nose and out the mouth. Maybe, a two minute downward facing dog to open and make space throughout your entire body. Perhaps, turning off the car radio and having quiet time on the way to errands. But find something that allows you to clear your head, keep your sanity and re-enter the present moment. Make a list – and depending where you are and what you have time for, commit to fitting some practice of slowness each and every day.
If we are only rushing from one thing to the next, we are not present and life is passing by without any attention to the sweetness of the day. If you’re not living in each moment, and always in a rush, what is the point? Yield to you, to the little things, slow down.
Yoga: to yoke, to bring together, to connect.
I am so excited to present my new website along with launching a blog to better serve my students and friends. This practice, for me, is all about finding meaningful connections. Whether it is to our own selves and bodies or to friends/family perhaps even the community – we seek to feel included and together in this journey of life. I look forward to sharing all the things that inspire me and that I find special; everything from personal thoughts to the things I cook that keep me nourished and alive. I will also keep you updated on my day to day teachings and retreat schedule. I hope this will be a platform where I not only reach out to you with what I am passionate about, but that we can start a conversation. Send me your thoughts, questions and comments. Let’s get connected!