|Posted on November 17, 2016 at 1:25 PM||comments (1)|
I came to yoga tonight not sure why I came. My hands hurt. My day was far too long. A friend suggested that I take it easy. “Go home and rest. Really rest,” she demanded.
Yet here I was, mat rolled out, my red painted toes making contact with the comforting jute and rubber that in this short period of time-a week of practice. I forget about her advice and fall into the space.
As we share our experiences of the week, of practicing, of life, I am reminded that this ebb and flow is about the now. Just as we leave our shoes at the door, we are asked to leave anything that does not serve our practice. It’s an easy call once I am here. I willingly choose to embrace this deep, primal connectedness with my classmates and ultimately, myself.
And as I transition into the asanas, I feel as if this flow, right now, is here to help me create clarification for loving and healing myself…even amid challenge, change, hurt, illness and upset. I let my tears fall, unabashed by anyone else. I am reassessing the way I connect with myself and with other women in this room. I am reassessing the way I show up in my life. It sounds silly, at first blush, but I feel a warming in my core that has more to do about this connectedness and presence that I can scarcely comprehend.
Jaime, our yogi, challenges us gently, intently, to be in the pose correctly. As she examines our poses and guides us to readjust our stance, our feet, our hips, it is surprising how simple it is to move into it.
It’s marvelous how standing in front of, or beside a wall enables me to stay in Tree Pose much longer than I can away from the wall. Even if I never make physical contact with the wall, just knowing that support is available helps me find greater steadiness in the pose.
Until a few years ago, I insisted on doing everything myself. I’ve since learned how limiting that is. Now, in my life, support is critical. Instead of resisting the support, I lean into it. In the past, leaning into anything with any amount of trust was not something I would willing do. Recently, however, I find myself brushing up against my life’s sharpest point, and leaning into a wall to do tree pose, or into the comforting arms of family and friends doesn’t seem take a leap of faith.
It’s magnificent how leaning into something offers support in ways I never imagined I wanted or needed. I put my weight on my right foot, as my left glides up my calf. I lean into the wall, feeling the cool, solid, sturdy support. I breathe. Fully. In and out. It’s nice. I accept the support. I firm my standing leg by hugging the muscles of my inner thigh in toward my midline. I raise my left foot ever so slightly. I feel my hips open a little more, and allow my body to realign.
I realize that Tree Pose is an exploration of how willing I am to accept support. Support from my yogi who wants me to expand and grow within my practice. I allow myself to feel her support. Support from those who are offering support in the sharpest point, willing to lean into that darkness with me. How willing am I to accept this support? Trying to stand on one leg, honoring my now, honoring my support, is a deeper inquiry into my own truth. I lower my leg, move away from the wall and begin in mountain pose, slowly working my way back to Tree. I sway slightly and my yogi assures me that even trees themselves sway with the wind. Honor where you are now, my yogi says. I lower my bent leg slightly. I feel strong. I feel supported. And I allow myself to sway.
|Posted on October 28, 2016 at 1:15 PM||comments (0)|
This morning as I walk along the drainage ditch, the sun is turning the sky a deep and powerful magenta that awakens the mountains. I attempt to stimulate my prana by lightly stretching but I resemble the birds huddled together and tucked inward on the electrical wiring instead. My body feels like returning to the fetal position, and if I had feathers, pleating my head completely under them.
The terrain here next to the ditch is well-worn but still primitive. Ancient trees line the pathway, their branches now reach back up towards the sky, searching for a new place to climb. I raise my arms up in mountain poise, willing my own old limbs to show signs of life. It hurts. My arms ache in places I have no name for this early in the morning. Still, I am proud of this pain and my ability to recognize it, tune into it, and acknowledge it.
Two days ago seven other women and I began our Foundations of Yoga class. Yoga has been calling to me from some time now. Sometimes I listen. I go to a class, often feeling awkward and more like a newborn calf than a yogi.
But this Foundations of Yoga class is different. All of us are at different levels of skill but somehow I felt deeply connected to every person in the room. I thought Reiki and meditation had taken me to this divinely deeper level of understanding. And yet, as I stood on my mat and told both my feet to evenly plant themselves on all four corners into the contours of jute and rubber, I realized for the first time in a long, long time I was connecting to another part of myself.
I’m not sure I have honored that part of myself for a terribly long time. And I want to. I want to connect to my body and mind and spirit in that way again, maybe for the first time. I want to cry for the longing. And I don’t cry easily. In fact, I don’t cry often enough. And I need to. I need to release the pain and sadness I have been carrying around for months now.
As I stumbled into another down-ward dog, my body was doing enough crying for both of us. “Honor your body. Honor that space, “ I heard my yogi say. Do I even know what that means? I am not sure I do. I realized somewhere between our sequence of Sun Salutations that being sensitive and aware of each moment is a lesson on how to skillfully participate in life. It is a way to honor myself in the here and now, to be fully present and grounded in a profound way.
I know I was doing at least half of the poses wrong. Normally that would make me irritated with myself. But it didn’t. Not at all. The sense of defensiveness, defeat-even discouragement was not present. Not yet.
My yogi, Jaime, worked with us one on one with the poses we were having trouble with. I ended up apprehensive every time she said, “Chaturanga.” For some reason my body wanted to do a push up and I couldn’t wrap my head around anything else. “When was the last time you even did a push-up, Ranae?” Jaime walked me through it, her comforting voice and gentle touch posing me into the asana. And for the first time, it made sense to me and to my body. It was like an “ah-ha” moment on the mat. I was grateful. And when she said, “chaturanga” again, one last time for the night, I did it. Not perfectly, not gracefully, just slightly better than I had all night. And that was something.
Now 2 days later, after my morning walk, I struggle to remember what she said. I remember, “look to the top of the mat, push the shoulder together” Do I remember anything else? My arms remember that they are sore. But my chi hasn’t warmed up yet. Patience. Practice.
Wild Geese by Mary Oliver
“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.”
I complete my warm-up and take my shower. I appreciate the hot water. I appreciate the cold water. I appreciate my sore arms. I cannot remember appreciating my sore arms before. Sore arms and a sore heart. I cry. And for the first time in as long as I can remember I do not chastise myself for my “weakness.” I let it be.
And I can’t help but think that my 10 minutes of yoga this morning has shifted something in me. Maybe not something big, maybe not something profound.
I feel empowered. I feel as though learning how to safely approach the Chaturanga, a challenging asana on its own, is teaching me how to let go. Day 2 doesn’t feel as mystifying as day 1. I send a silent thank you to my body, to my yogi, to my fellow students, and to my tears. Who knew the chaturanga would be teaching me all of this?
Today I struggle. But I kind of love it. “You do not have to be good, “ Oliver says. I am not. “You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.”
|Posted on July 29, 2016 at 1:05 PM||comments (0)|
The pure and pristine waters I spent in yesterday have renewed me. They allow this water bearer, this Aquarian to once again hope. Water has this way of cleansing the body, mind, and spirit. It allows every human being to become beacons of light once again. This is how we are restoring peace and prosperity on planet Earth, echoing throughout the galaxies. This is how we save ourselves and Gaia. Anyway that you can reconnect to nature brings closer to your own essense.
New Mexico has some magnificient healing waters in our desert climate. Yesterday, I partook in some of them. First I ventured to Elephant Butte Lake where I dangled feet first; daring my body to catapult over and into the deepest parts. Instead I waded in my shorts until I could no longer see my feet and then slowly, my legs too were gone. I began to notice the magnificence I was in; the expansive views and the deep blue of the sky.
I began to surrender. It is always a process for me. I soaked up the water and my surroundings, enjoying the laughter and joy of children and adults alike. Joy is a deep and pure vibration. Every time I sense it, I feel a coming-to. My little guy and hunny drew hearts in the sand. I watched them, smiling.
Afterwards, we headed to T or C (Truth or Consequences) and I basked in the rays of the sun while lying on the rooftop at St. Charles. I simply love it here, especially the carefree(NESS) of it all. I surrender a little more as the jets from the hot tub filled to near-brim assault me with hot springs water in a near-perfect way.
I shield my eyes from the cherry sun and watch the clouds dance every so slowly, mixing like a sexy Tango with the rhythm of the jets pulsing. Again there is laughter, this time from my little family, flying solo above the "city." We soak. We talk. We listen. Really we are learning how to listen again. My hunny and I kiss differently than we do when we are in a hurry or saying goodbye.
We forget about phones. It's delightful to be "cut off" from such luxuries. We linger in that simple way we often do when time simply escapes us. I breathe.
We mossey on over to La Paloma Too to find it closed, as many things are on a Wednesday in a small town whose tourist season certainly does not peak in teperatures over 100. My little guy is disappointed. After all, we wanted to check out the mineral bath pool. Another day.
La Paloma is open however and can accommodate us. There is something so sweet about La Paloma's artisan feel. The woman at the front desk is kind and takes the time to acquaint us with the area and graciously invites us back in the morning for an early soak.
I like rustic and natural. The swing inside makes me think of those lazy days of summer I knew how to enjoy as a kid.
My little guy's tub is almost cool to skin and they give him a paddle board and pool noodle. My hunny and I step into ours gingerly. We take breaks often. The second mildest tub in the place at 113 and I am content. I spend most of my time sitting on the beautiful and simple Spanish tile steps. I sigh deeply.
Refreshed, we take a lemon aromatherapy shower. I ponder mid-way-through my rinse if I should have allowed the natural minerals to do their business. All is well.
We leave and order food just down the street yonder, at an old-school drive-in diner and watch the kids at the church across the way bounce balls on a rainbow parachute and do double dutch. Just another hop and a half-skip away is a park with a little pond across from the once-mighty Rio Grande. Sitting by the pond overlooking the river, I watch the pitter-patter of tiny raindrops. I surrender even more. I sigh a little deeper.
When we learn to let go of everything, we get everything. In this space I am beginning to remember that I command the space of my beingness-a space that I can flourish into my True Self. There is a lot of sighing into it for me, void of time or personal constraints. The trees and rocks and butterflies dancing and the river winding down the path all contribute to my remembering who I am. They remind me of the purpose and beingness that exists in and through me.
We head to our hotel overlooking Elephant Lake. A rich storm is brewing past the far side of the lake. I change back into my suit, this time heading for the pool around the corner. The thunder and lighting speak to me. I have no fear. I am tapping back into my intuition and the quiet promptings of my expanded heart.
I swim. The sky commands my eyes to open fully. And amid the storm, the stars blink their wisdom to me. I surrender deeper. I truly begin to let it all go and enjoy the profound gifts found in these quiet places inside myself. In the quiet, I become a powerful conduit for spirit to open me up from the inside out.
Flipping over, I swim on my back. The storm is coming closer and I feel peaceful. I feel renewed. It begins to silently rain. I can smell it; this nourishment to Gaia. I smile. I feel a sense of absolute belongingness. The sky rumbles and my soul, more awakened, rumbles back.
I take this as a cue to exit.
I sit on the patio of the hotel, enveloped in the storm. Slightly more insync with both my inner and outer world, time surrenders with me. Beauty abounds and the sky seems to sing with my own inner song. Finally tired, I go back inside and cuddle with my little guy. I sleep soundly, as my spirit rises higher and higher. All is truly well.