Day 6: Thawing out on the Mat

So you may have heard of all the bizarre and wild weather hitting our nation, the great old US of A; 41 inches of snow in New Mexico, 10 inches of rain in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma and warmer than normal in December for my home of New England where we saw 60+ degree days!  Needless to say we New Englanders were quite spoiled by this unseasonably warm air- whether we call it an Indian summer or Indian winter- I wasn’t complaining about not needing my bulky coat and fuzzy hat!  But last night and throughout the day today were C-O-L-D.  I mean the kind of cold that literally froze my damp hair in less than two minutes time last night!

Since I store my mat in my car (so I don’t forget it!), it was as cold as ice when I un-rolled it in class this morning.  I swear I should’ve seen steam rising from it as it flopped to the floor in the 90 degree room.  But I knew in hardly anytime at all the room and my body heat would radiate and both my mat and I would be toasty yet.  What I didn’t expect was for the thaw to reach inside my heart today.

Now I don’t want to make myself out to be the Grinch by any means but I definitely harbor a lot of emotional scars deep within my very fibers, muscles and tissues that yoga has allowed me to slowly release.  Some people have church pews and bibles, I have my mat and savasanas (corpse pose meant to signify the release of all that no longer serves you- and yes- I’ve cried my way through some of them).  During some of the heart opening poses like half moon and in particular Camel, I could feel my heart fibers opening and expanding to release and surrender- to no longer bear the burden they carried for so long.

Can I tell you what that burden was exactly?  No- I have no clue what it was or what was ‘lost’ today.  But I can tell you that it freed me and I felt lighter, happier, emotional and FREE.  It sounds so cheesy and when I spoke to my husband about it tonight, I almost felt embarrassed, like ,”Who am I?  Am I really this deep and quite frankly weird?”  (I mean I like being a weirdo, but a SPIRITUAL weirdo?!)  I told him how going to the mall I was the oddball smiling at everyone and all I could think of was that I was seeing the light in others (Namaste).  Instead of people watching and being such a negative and hateful person, I saw couples and was happy for them that they found happiness, I could see their glow instead of diminishing their light with a negative thought I just saw the beauty in them- all of them.

Today I let go of something and it felt INCREDIBLE to just put whatever IT was aside and become a better version of myself- the version I’ve been striving to be and will continue to cultivate.  So thank you yet again yoga for bringing me light and happiness.

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Day 5: A Case of the Mondays

I have no clue what was in the air or wrong with my body today but I was not really present in my practice. My shoulder was bothering me and I felt super sluggish. The class was also thrown off by some of the calls that were made when the instructor went through the same sequence but on the same side. (Usually the sequence is repeated to the opposite side to bring balance to the body).  Not to use that as an excuse and certainly not to hurt the instructor (because she’s totally killer and amazingly helpful as well as inspiring). It was just a first Monday of the year weirdness. 😆

So today’s post is a short one because it was just another day of ‘working out’.  The lesson here was sometimes you have to just roll out your mat and do the work. Perhaps I will look back on this day and realize it was a necessary step in the journey. Maybe later it will have a profound meaning. Maybe not? And that is OK.  In yoga you have to meet yourself where you are and today I was just there to participate I suppose! 
**photo taken at home when I practiced a vinyasa that was called in class: high plank- rockstar – strong star -chaturanaga- up dog – down dog 

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Day 4: The Love SPREADS

A far cry from yesterday’s solo home practiced I went to the grand opening of my favorite studio’s sister shop and was literally practicing on top of my neighbors’ mats.  The amount of people that showed up to give their support was a true testament to how powerful this community is and how amazing the space will do.  I’m literally talking a mat to mat to mat practice in the hallways, in front of the bathrooms, touch your neighbor kind of packed.  And I. LOVED. IT!

I know some people feel Closter phobic and strange about being on top of their neighbor’s mat, but to me that is the essence of practicing in a studio.  You go to a studio to share the love, to gain something new from someone else.  It may not always be from the instructor that you gain insight from, you may just get schooled by a grandmother rocking chin stand.  I know I have been!

I love being close like this and all taking tree, supporting one another and telling your neighbor, “I may not know you, but I got your back.  If you stumble, I will catch you.”  Wouldn’t it be nice if this happened not only in a closed yoga studio but in the real world?

I saw a meme on facebook not too long ago stating, “It costs $0.00 to be a decent human being.”  This was posted over and over again, going viral.  So I KNOW there are TONS more people out there who feel the way I do. Why not share the love and be kind to one another?  You may feel awkward or funny about talking to a stranger, but sometimes it makes someone’s day to just be noticed by another human being.  You never know what that person is going through or how lonely or out of place they feel as well.

So on this fourth day of my challenge I am proud of the studio I practice at, it owners, their teachers and the fact that I can be among this powerful, passionate, fun, exciting and GROWING community!

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Day 3: WTF is That Pose?!

Umm yea…today’s home practice via this  youtube video was seemingly innocent enough as  I scanned through it last night to choose one to use for myself today.  It was labeled intermediate 2/3.  I kept up with most of it but there were points where I really had no clue how the instructor got into the pose. She seemingly twisted herself inside out and did so with grace and ease.  I’m sure if I was just a spectator I would have been awed by the beauty.  But as a participant I was dumbfounded by the positions and how to get from point A to B.

At one point she got into one legged crow and I attempted to do the same but am pretty sure I just bruised my tricep along with my ego pretty badly.  There is something to be said about having a live class filled with lots of models and an instructor to help align you.  Without other students modeling what was to be done, seeing different variations or the energy a live crowd brings, I felt a bit lost today.  I also had a hard time hearing what was being called since it was naptime and I didn’t want to blast the volume and wake the baby.

Even though this was challenging in some ways, I learned some new variations of poses and enjoyed seeing where this practice could eventually lead me.  That is what pulls me to this practice; the ability lies within us all and it meets you wherever you are.  You don’t have to be perfect in every pose- in fact I LOVE that there really is no perfect. There is constantly room for growth and expansion and flowing from one pose to another.  This is the essence of yoga and today I was humbled by new asanas (poses) and seeing how far one can reach over time.

Tomorrow should be exciting as I head to the grand opening of The Yoga Shop in West Hartford! 🙂

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Day 2: The Course Will Not Always be Smooth

With my husband away for work right now the home duties have been almost solely on my shoulders for the past 8 months and counting… Including an ordeal a few months back dealing with the aftermath of a flooded basement from a sink left running for hours on end (way longer story…).  Did I mention that our living room, play area and office are all in this basement since we live in a small ranch with very limited first floor space?
Needless to say that going without that room with an infant was really tricky for a while but when everything was back together I was happy and relieved. Until this morning. My son decided to play with the doors separating his play area and the furnace area. I caught a glimpse through the doors and noticed the floor was a bit darker. When I opened them I stumbled upon the above picture- water all over! I was not a happy camper. As thoughts of all the worst things flooded my head, “We need to replace the furnace, our water tank busted, there’s a burst pipe…” I literally had to choke back my tears of frustration and catch my thoughts from spinning out of control. When I did I thought to myself, “And to top it all off I’m going to have to miss yoga to wait for are repair guy.” 
With the holiday (New Year’s Day) there was only one yoga class scheduled and I wanted to show up and show how dedicated I was to this entire month and my personal challenge. Doing an at home workout just wasn’t in my thoughts for today. But I talked myself down yet again and realized that the options were plentiful and I just needed to get out of my own way and diagnose the problem. 

Three phone calls: my neighbor, my father in law and my husband. Within 10 minutes from my almost melt down two out of the three were here to help and get things fixed. Within an hour almost all of the water was cleaned up. And as I sit here tonight finally posting the mess is almost all gone. 

Point being, life is going to throw you curveballs and the expectations you have might not always come to fruition but it’s how you deal with it that will define you and show your true character. I know in the past I would’ve sulked, stamped around and been pissed at the world. For a moment I thought that’s where I was headed but all this yoga practice and gaining patience with myself allowed me to handle the situation with a bit more grace, poise and level headedness than ever before. Don’t get me wrong I still have a ways to go and this was surely just a small test along the way but I do feel proud to have gotten over this small hurdle today. 

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Day 1: The End and the Beginning are so Closely Related

The End and the Beginning are just miliseconds from one another; but is the end always a bad thing?  Does the beginning need to be scary?  Well, maybe not, but sometimes it is!

 

Today was day one of 40 (maybe 41) of yoga for me.  It was a packed house since it was the only class of the day, NYE and of course because the teacher is awesome!  The power was electric and the music was perfect; a rocking version of Auld Lang Syne.  I cried.  Not because I was sad, but because I was so FILLED up.  Filled with ENERGY, POWER, HAPPINESS and COMMUNITY.  How lucky was I to be among such great people sharing this amazing morning practice?!

 

The song, Auld lang Syne, a popular Scottish tune that celebrates meeting up with old friends and reminiscing of old times reminded me of all that has come to pass.  All that I have been through and all that the future holds possible.  The end of this year is literally a second from the beginning of another.  The end of my fear is the beginning of my release.  The end of my procrastination is the beginning of the life I want and dream of having.  With all of those thoughts rushing through I couldn’t help but smile and feel ready to full force tackle the New Year.

I can feel that  I am finally coming into my self and it gets stronger with each practice-like a snow ball rolling down hill in an avalanche.  After 5 or 6 years of on and off commitmnet to this practice (I always wanted and LONGED to go, but never cleared my calendar) I feel like I am finally in a place where I can say YES and go for it.  I am on the verge of something great and I can just feel it-its palpable.  With the commitment to this 40 day challenge that I heard talked about over and over and over and over again and wanted to take part in but always found an excuse, I can feel my steps heading me in the right direction.  More importantly it is all happening when it is supposed to.  It is not rushed or forced.

So here’s to the end of the year: going out with a bang and taking no mercy on 2016.  This year ends the saying of, “No.”, the BS excuses, the longing for greatness and never taking the steps to achieve it.  This is the year where I will step onto my mat more than ever and step into a life of ACTION.  While I don’t know what will come to pass in the next 365 days, I do know that I will be taking charge of this life instead of letting it pass me by.

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The Shift

This picture was taken the day my shift occurred in my practice.
The day that I decided that I was going to put my ego aside and actually LISTEN for once.

My favorite instructor who welcomed me from my very first day with a huge smile was teaching and she said that yoga isn’t about how it looks, it’s about how it feels. She also mentioned that it’s important to just LET GO. And I did. Not in a huge and profound way where I forgave everyone of everything and life was rainbows and butterflies. But I let go of the fear and the “I can’t”. The perfectionist Aries embedded in me was always showing up- judging everything and everyone- wishing I could do what others could (head stands and crow and scissors).  Showing off when we finally got to a pose I could nail (savasana!)… My practice was waaaay too much about my ego and my comfort zone. It was not about going within and conquering that which was holding me back.

But that day, that day I did and I haven’t looked back since. Now I try something new everytime I’m there on my mat. I LISTEN for the message I am supposed to receive that day. I am nothing but grateful for this day, it’s lesson and the amazing instructor that has propelled me into my current state of exploration.

Exploring a local yoga event that I would’ve been too scared to try alone. From there I met others who urged me (kindly, sweetly and passionately) to sign up for yoga teacher training (YTT) and so I did. After being accepted i took part in the shop’s 21 day challenge and ended up winning a month of yoga—- yahoooooo!  😁😁👍👍🌟. So the obvious choice then was to do the 40 day challenge the shop frequently runs and I was always intrigued by. Starting Jan 1- 2016 I will begin my 40 day journey and I can’t wait to take you all along with me 🙂
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