My grandmother would call Bear and Reggie (my beloved rescue dogs, and two of the main characters in my own play of life) joyfully rambunctious. At leash time, which happens twice a day, they literally lose their ever-loving minds with excitement. This morning was no different. They were swirling around me in circles, drooling uncontrollably, appearing more like ‘hyper-kinetic swaths and swooshes of Black and Gold’ than the ‘good boys’ I constantly brag on. If I try to move around with the intention of catching one to place his leash on—it just creates more chaotic energy and I too am chasing my tail in tiny tight circles in the living room. This dance can be fun (occasionally) but only to a certain degree. Most of the time it is not a pretty sight to behold. Back to the daily dog walk…I have learned that if I become super earthy in my feet, stand with Mountain Pose awareness in my legs, initiate a few mindful Ujjayi breaths, and connect with my own center still point, the dogs come and sit at my feet and allow me to leash them. I now realize that this desired sequence of events is not random (as if it’s all just a game of luck-not), and that I can, through a set of sequential actions recreate the scenario day after day. This is yoga off the mat! I am grateful for daily my yoga practice on the mat that helps me to remember my center, connect with it, be still within it, allow and observe the natural course of things to unfold, and then to respond skillfully. When movement and action originate from that place of stillness and clarity, then I am operating from a level of oneness with Nature. The dogs feel it, I feel it, and we are literally connected by it. Now I can’t wait to get on my mat to practice it! PEACE DOGS!
The alarm did not ring at the usual 5:30am. At 6:15 I woke with a startle, bolted out of bed, and dove headfirst into my to do list. By 7, I was on schedule but had missed my morning reading and meditation. At 7:30 my mind was swirling so fast and my body (as usual) was trying to keep up. Today already seemed frayed at the edges.
Then I saw my little yoga practice area all set up for reclined hero pose (sputa virasana) literally beckoning me over. Supta virasana is the hardest pose for me in all of yoga. It is no coincidence that it is the pose that my body absolutely needs to find true physical and organic balance. For me to practice this pose safely and effectively, I must be supported, usually by at least a bolster beneath sitting bones and spine and ample support for my head. Some days I need more, I rarely need less. My ego self always tries to endure the unbearable physical discomfort with a faux calm demeanor. But my Inner Teacher does not allow this to go on for too long before she reminds me that that I am wasting precious time in an unnecessary painful situation. So I take the support and immediately the pose feels like it makes sense. Even with lots of support though it is still a big challenge for me everyday
So why do I practice it you ask? Because it addresses my deepest imbalance and my tightest muscles. Because when I do not consistently stretch those tight, imbalanced muscles they just get more tight and more out of balance and I start to walk moderately stooped forward and weak in my core, which in no time at all causes back fatigue/ache. Even though it is a massive 5-10 minute daily challenge, when I finish, my body buzzes with vibrancy and my posture feels upright, light, and strong all day long.
A secondary super cool thing is that since I have been consistently visiting this absolutely humbling hero, I have had several breakthroughs in the more playful part of my asana practice, holding in new arm balances, more steadiness and balance in handstand, and wayyyy more enjoyment in super strong vinyasa flow classes.
This totally feeds into my current practice theme of the Pulsation of Work and Play. How cool is that??!! Oh Yoga, thanks for continuing to be my hero. NAMASTE.
I came across this passage in morning reading about Centering Prayer which is an ancient Christian Prayer form that comes from Catholic tradition. I just love it when teachings from the religion of my birth and teachings of yoga and meditation intersect in sheer oneness and beauty.
The Greek Fathers distinguished between chronos and chairos. Chronos is chronological time: the steady flow of minutes, hours, days, and years. It moves along relentlessly, with steady, unflagging pace –no matter what is going on. It is totally equalitarian, flat, unvarying. Chairos is the time of grace, the fullness of the present moment, the all that is now. Each moment has its own uniqueness, its own fullness, its own quality. [Through methods of meditation and Centering Prayer we will more quickly) graduate into a life of chairos, a life that is filled with luminous Presence, great peace, a constancy in joy…–M Basil Pennington, O.C.S.O
So the countdown begins. Ten days until I start the journey to cross Ocean and Continent bound for India. Or rather, bound ‘to’ India. The seed was planted 24 years ago when I lived with an Indian girl my freshman year at Indian Springs School. Her exotic beauty and stories of Delhi and Bombay ignited the spark that continued to burn more brightly year after year. I believe her influence caused my gravitation to yoga a few years later.
I have been actively working, saving, and planning for this trip for 18 months. To leave my husband, family, house, dogs, and business for four weeks seems like such a long time. There is a tiny part of me that thinks my little universe will crumble if I don’t hold it up. But there is a wiser part of me that knows all is well and will be well here in my absence and that I must do this. My higher self assures my fearful aspects that the Universe is infinite, intelligent, compassionate and inviting me to have a look at the world from the perspective of a high flying Bird, to expand my horizons, to steep myself in another’s culture, to live life to the fullest now. Who wouldn’t accept that invitation?!
The last major tasks to take care of before departure are bills and taxes. Sheer WORK. My friend Michelle Baker said last weekend at Yoga Birds that we often have to move through ‘thick energy’ to experience the freedom of a yoga pose or a situation.
It’s very much in the same realm as the theme of my yoga classes this week. We are exploring the balance between Work and Play in the poses. There is an innate pulsation and equilibrium of work and play in every pose and every situation that we encounter or embark upon. Keeping with the Order of the Universe, we must first do the work so that we can really play. It is just like the Anusara Universal Principles of Alignment- we create muscle energy first and then we playfully stretch and extend in the poses. If we play before we work, the poses are unsteady and the risk of injury increases substantially, and frankly not very fun.
So this week it’s the tedious mandatory work of tax time that sets the path for the ultimate Divine play of answering the long-time call of the Motherland.
Come play with us at Yoga Birds this week. Oh and, Yoga, thanks so much for showing me the Way!
Energize your home, Energize your life
Feng Shui every month with Meryl Hyerdally at Yoga Birds
For more info contact Meryl at (251) 463-1862 or firstname.lastname@example.org