Tag Archives: yoga

Beautiful Letting Go

It’s finally fall. In Texas we’ve been enduring ridiculous October days with high temperatures in the 90s. This makes us cranky, unable to breathe and creates fashion problems because you cannot wear sweaters and cute boots when you are having a heat stroke. We can’t decorate because pumpkins rot so fast in hot weather and rotting pumpkins is not the look we were going for.

Just this week the weather finally has turned for us. There are no words for how this feels. I made tortilla soup and pumpkin bread as fast as I could. I was ready with long pants, a long sleeved shirt and fuzzy socks for the first time in what seemed like decades.

Yesterday, I saw this quote for the first time, “The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let the dead things go.” I don’t know who said it, but it caught my imagination. My yoga teacher often says at the end of our practice, “let go of that which no longer serves you.” In yoga, for me, that is stress, a busy mind and the bound up feeling in my joints. I always think about what else I might need to let go of as well.

I’ve never before tied autumn to the practice of letting go. But, as the leaves release, perhaps so should we. Maybe it is time to let go of a bad habit, a toxic relationship or  the clutter in our homes. Maybe it is a season to let go of an old hairstyle, a resentment, an anger or a destructive grief. Maybe it is time to release the clothes we’ve not worn once 1977 or from 3 sizes ago. Maybe it is time to let go of a job, a burden or that worry that you will never fix. Maybe it is time to release our resistance to help and call the therapist, the doctor or call on God.

More than once, I’ve had to call on God’s spirit to let go of something that was no longer serving me. The prayer was simple, “God, I need you because I cannot let go of this alone.”

Imagine, in this new season as we marvel at the golden, orange and red leaves of fall, breathe in the crisp cool air, make and eat pumpkin everything, that we are also taking our cue from nature and allow a beautiful letting go.

 

 

 

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If Only I Could Write While Doing Yoga

One of my new ventures this year is a yoga class twice a week. Obviously, I am several centuries/generations/cultures behind others who have engaged in this ancient physical/spiritual practice over time. I’m 100% aware of how late I am to this game. I am still very much a back row beginner and super clear on the fact that I know almost nothing about yoga.

There is, however, an ancient saying, When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.  I think it just took me a while to be ready for what yoga had to teach me.

I love the quietness of it. I love the stretching and the physical challenge. I love that our teacher said early on yoga is not supposed to hurt.  I tell myself when it starts hurting, which helps. I love noting my steady progress. Some things I absolutely could not do at the beginning, I do pretty well now.

What I was not expecting were the life lessons. Last class, I wished for a notepad to jot down what our teacher was saying. Then, I realized, of course, writing would not be possible while doing yoga. You pretty much need your hands to hold you up, balance, stretch and pose.

So, I can only share the good lessons that I remember. Here are a few:

Yoga is not a competitive sport. It is all about what you challenge yourself to do. This is so refreshing. 100% of my focus is on what I can do better each time, stretching a little further, balancing a little longer and no one else.

This teaching is closely related to one I made up. No one is looking at you in your yoga pants because they are focusing on their own balance, poses and issues. Get over it. 

Falling is part of the pose. Don’t worry about it. I almost screamed with delight when she taught us this. Falling is part of the pose! It is also part of every single thing I’ve ever experienced in life. Imagine finding a way to tell yourself with each fall, “this is fall is part of the pose.”

In the course of each class, there are resting moments sprinkled among the hard ones. Our teacher says, Enjoy the pause. Drink it in.  I want to do that better in life: enjoying the break, the weekend, the deep breath, the nap, the meal, the drink of water, the park bench, the good night’s sleep.

At the end we do this relaxing thing. It is only a few minutes long and it has long yoga name.  Our teacher talks us through relaxing every part of our body, softening, she says. Soften your forehead, your face and so on. As everything softens she says, now, relax more deeply.  This also makes me want to scream in happiness. Did anyone out there know you can relax more deeply than even your most relaxed self?

Our teacher says, search your body and your soul and let go of what you do not need.  It is okay to let go of what you do not need. Just, let it go. I’m still happy screaming, silently and in a relaxed way, of course.  

At the end, with prayer hands, we whisper Namaste to each other. This means the divine in me honors the divine in you.  In today’s world, I believe that one word, Namaste, could possibly transform everyone and everything.  What if we honored the divine in every single person we met, from every single walk of life? What if the Republicans and Democrats started with that? Or, the Christians and Muslims? Or people of each race? I could go on and on. Namaste.

The pose in the picture is called the Half Moon. I can pretty much do that pose and hold it when I’m not falling (which as I mentioned is part of the pose.) I think it is pretty close to a full on cartwheel. Namaste and happy silent screaming to you.     

Yoga, Babies and Marriage

When the year turned new, I adopted a  word for the year. It is the word “new”. The purpose of having a word is to increase one’s focus. So I’ve been trying to be alert to all things new. I’ve also been trying to embrace new experiences and trying to learn new things.

So far, the word has led to me taking a Facebook Business Page class. For those of you who know me that last line should come with an exclamation mark because I don’t even really do Facebook. My daughter and I have continued to embrace the new world of repurposed and vintage treasures with our antique booth, Mimosa Rose. Every day,  on my to-do list, I now have a category  “new”. I make myself learn something or do something new before I do all my comfortable old things.

So a couple of weeks ago when a friend texted me that she was taking yoga twice a week and I needed to be there, I said yes. I’d dabbled in yoga before and I knew people had been doing it for centuries with good results. But,  people I’m here to tell you the whole yoga thing is awesome. Mind, body, spirit, relaxation, stretching, peace, love, personal challenge all rolled into one. I love this new old as time practice.

My other new is just watching our almost 8 month grandson experience “new” every day. Foods, mobility, sounds, textures, laughter, love, boundaries…the world is before him and it is pure wonder to see it through this eyes.

And marriage…I’ve been married to the same guy since 1985. I’ve loved him since we were 18. When I’m with him, we are still 18. In fact, we always say these days, “Can you believe we are grandparents?” We can’t. In order to be new, marriage needs attention and focus and taking time to just look in each other’s eyes again. We just finished a few days away together. Away matters. Away is different than home. I can’t explain it, it just is. Away makes all things new. A wise counselor told us once that couples need to be away every quarter together. This seemed very over the top to us and we have not yet managed it. But, I know he is right.

New things require focus, attention and time. Precious things do too like babies and relationships. I cannot do the downward dog or the dancer’s pose in yoga without focusing every ounce of my being.

What a gift to focus on new. Yesterday, I drove across Texas and saw new green grass, budding leaves and our precious state flower, bluebonnets beginning to emerge. What’s getting your attention these days?