Yoga, I love you

I may have mentioned this before, but I am in love.

Since leaving my day job, I have spent more time with yoga, and this love I have for it – it is the real thing.

I was briefly introduced to yoga five years ago at a gym I belonged to. I thought it was pretty great, but didn’t have much time for it. Two years ago, we were reacquainted during my trip to the Chopra Center. The best thing I learned there is that I can have a relationship with yoga even if I can’t sit in lotus or do certain asanas (postures).

Shortly after that I discovered the yoga studio less than two miles from where I live, and began to go weekly, for a while. Then I began studying ayurveda, and since I still worked full time, it was a challenge to get to class, so I stopped going regularly. In the meantime, I began to learn more about what yoga actually is.

The word yoga means union, and is a means to bring your entire being into balance and union with the greater consciousness many people call God. A common perception of yoga is that it is about moving your body into different positions to increase physical fitness, but there is so much more to it than that.

There are eight limbs of yoga:

  • Yama – this is about our behavior, principles, and how we conduct ourselves in life
  • Niyama – has to do with self- discipline and spiritual practices and routines
  • Asana – the postures practiced in yoga, through which we develop habits of discipline
  • Pranayama – this is about the breath
  • Pratyahara – withdrawing from sensory stimulation and looking inside
  • Dharana – concentration, dealing with the distractions of the mind
  • Dhyana – meditation or contemplation
  • Samadhi – transcendence, connection with the Divine, interconnectedness with all living beings

There are quite a few flavors of yoga, and this Mind Body Green piece explains the most common. I personally prefer a very slow flow, with stretching and holding poses for longer periods, a combination of hatha, sivananda, and yin. A have a friend who is dedicated to kundalini. Others love the more workout like flow of vinyasa or the heat of Bikram. There is something for everyone.

I am so happy to have found yoga. Or, as the owner of The Yoga Institute in Clear Lake, Rae Lynn Rath says “You don’t find yoga. Yoga finds you.”

I am elated that I have the time to pursue this practice. Yoga and ayurveda are sister sciences, so it makes sense to me to be able to teach this to those who are following this path of seeking better health through greater awareness.

And so, I have enrolled in a yoga teacher training course! Namaste. ūüôā

 

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Semi-retirement and following passions

I went down to the lake this morning with a cup of coffee. It waswp-1473004970418.jpg a beautiful clear morning – birds singing, fish jumping – and it was nice for about 10 minutes. Then the humidity started creating a sheen of moisture on me, so I went back inside. It gave me enough time to decide to write a blog post.

If you’ve been reading here, you know that I recently quit my job. I decided that I would call myself “semi-retired” rather than “unemployed”. After all, I am of an age when many retire, and I do have that 401k, although if I tried to just live off of that, it wouldn’t last long. Anyway, I’m not unemployed. I am picking up some part-time hours doing medical reviews from home.

So, what’s been happening with me since I made the big decision? How does one adjust to not having the boundaries of a 40-hour-week job, after years of arranging the rest of one’s life around that box? It’s mostly mental, I think. (pun intended!)

Day to day life is great. Robert and I continue to find ourselves compatible and happy together, which is such an amazing blessing.¬†I’ve¬†started going to yoga class four times a week, and spend regular quality time with my grandchildren. I love getting to eat at home, preparing simple meals of grains and fresh organic vegetables from the farmer’s market.

Then there is the following of my passion, what I really care about. I am an Ayurvedic Practitioner, and have the intention of introducing those who want better health to a new way of living. (and being paid for it!) There are simple changes in lifestyle that can make a huge difference, that can help with stress, anxiety, digestive and weight issues, insomnia, and overall health management. But I find that I am a bit of a procrastinator, a little stuck. I know that I have something of value to offer, and it is just a matter of finding the clients who want to be committed to making positive changes.

So I decided to get some help to move me in the right direction, and am taking a course with Brian Whetten called Selling by Giving. The premise is that it can “transform the way I relate to my fears and inner doubts, and shift from judging them as problems to seeing that they are reliable course indicators showing me that I am heading in the right direction.”

And I’m not finished being a student. I am studying¬†Ayurvedic Spiritual Counseling with New World Ayurveda. I’ve got skills and knowledge about how to make diet and lifestyle changes, but most people¬†are resistant¬†to change. So in this course, I’ll learn how to “help my clients understand what is truly at the root of their obstacles and have the inner transformational skills needed to permanently overcome those blocks.” ¬†I need this for me, first, because I am as resistant to change as anyone I may try to help. Change always has to start with me!

Sounds like a lot when I put it on paper! And it is, but not too much. I’ve found time to paint, to take walks, to have wine with friends. In the midst of all these plans and possibilities, I remember that what matters most is this moment – am I being kind, compassionate, and loving to whomever is around me, and to myself?

Journey

I passed my final test!

Not that I expected otherwise. It is always a relief to get it over with, to get it done.

For the last 15 months I have been immersed in my studies to become an Ayurvedic Practiioner. From the beginning, I have loved it Рin fact, I have found my passion!  I have also discovered a lot about my self through this study. I had so many doubts and fears, but as I moved through and past them, my confidence in my own abilities increased and the fear decreased. Making the decision to pursue this course was one of the great turning points in my life.

I’ve learned how to detect subtle changes in a person’s physiology through feeling the pulse. I’ve learned a little bit about Jyotish astrology. I’ve learned a great deal about how making simple changes in one’s lifestyle and diet can lead to better health. ¬†I’ve also learned how difficult it is for people to change their habits, and that commitment to change is the most important component in attaining better health.

So here I sit, at 4 in the morning, waiting for my plane. I will be joining my teachers and classmates for the final Clinical Intensive, the end of the course and the beginning of another new phase of my life. I am sure that this intensive, even more than the last, will be a turning point for me, an affirmation that this journey we call life can be meaningful, purposeful, healthy and exciting.

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And the journey continues

Here it is, January again, with resolutions and intentions abounding. I am not different from others in that I like to use the new year as a time for new beginnings. I also like to look back at the past year, and it is always with some amazement.

I have traveled more this year than I think I ever have, and in doing so discovered how big and how small the world is. Big in that there are so many beautiful places to see and small in that it is so easy to hop on an airplane and go hundreds of miles in just a few hours. That is amazing to me.  I went to Iowa, Montana, Wyoming, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Nova Scotia, and North Carolina!cows by pond

I made a few short weekend excursions, finishing up 2015 and beginning 2016 in a one room cottage near New Ulm, Texas. I had purposed after attending a New Year’s Eve party last year that this year would be out in the country, stargazing. The cloud cover unfortunately prevented that, but it was still lovely. The cottage was warm and cozy, the houses and people were few and far between, the sky was big, the walks were long. The house next to the cottage had a great porch we were invited to sit on, and I enjoyed my coffee there both mornings, looking over a pond and communing with the neighboring cows. It was all very head clearing.

The other big thing for 2015 was my decision to study Ayurveda, and I have completed two of the three terms in the course of study through New World Ayurveda. I love the subject material and already have been able to apply what I’ve learned to my own life as well as sharing some of my new knowledge with a few others who have shown interest. My hope is to be able to establish a practice and be able to truly help others find health and well being for a better quality of life.

On New Year’s Eve, we made a big deal of leaving behind old outdated ways of thinking that no longer serve us well. The biggest thing for me, and surprisingly hardest, was to leave behind, for good, “I can’t”! I do alot of stuff, but I was constantly second guessing myself, doubting my abilities, telling myself I’m too old, etc. No more! I can, and I will.

For 2016,  my main intention is to have more compassion, wherever I go, and with whomever I meet.

Looking forward, I see another beautiful blank slate, with shadows just beginning to take shape on the canvas. I anticipate continuing my studies, with two trips to new places for hands on intensives. I look beyond completion of this course to possibly deepening and continuing in the fall.  I had thought a year ago that I would stop my day job in June, but now I see myself continuing on for another couple of years at least.

I look forward to more reconnecting with my grown kids, more time with my growing granddaughter, more music, more long walks, more yoga, more coffee, more good books, more love, more compassion.

What I am looking for is not out there, it is in me. –Helen Keller

 

I don’t want to quit my job

A few months ago, I was thinking about how to leave my job, and developed a timeline to make it happen. Part of it may have been that my two closest coworkers left, then my boss, who is amazing. The rest of it has to to do with generally not buying into traditional western medicine and the revolving door that the hospital I work in has. I was searching, questioning, setting intentions, and back in March made a decision to do something different, and found my passion.

I have finished the first term of study with New World Ayurveda, including the Nutrition Intensive. I have learned so much, and have made gradual changes in what and how I eat, and have weaned myself off the bioidentical hormones I’ve been taking for 7 years. I feel fantastic. I have energy, clarity of mind, purpose, and joy. I am more productive at work than I’ve ever been, and am developing new relationships with new and old coworkers.

Stress is there, of course, but somehow it is easier to deal with. I’m sure there are quite a few factors involved, but I would say the main one is my regular meditation practice. It’s been a year and a half, and even I notice that I am less reactive, calmer, more peaceful, more in the moment. I’d like to incorporate more yoga into my life, and for now, most mornings, I follow this zen yoga video, and it just seems to energize me and get me ready for the day.

I worked hard this week, and felt good after every day. That’s different. It wasn’t like that a few months ago, or a year ago. The job hasn’t changed. I have. As I walked out to my car yesterday, which was Friday, I realized that I wasn’t all about quitting the job anymore. I have purpose there. I have opportunities to share love with hurting people, and be a source of encouragement and help.

I still have goals, and time lines, and dreams and desires. But I am happiest when I stay in the present moment with the people that are in front of me. Perhaps next summer when I finish my course of study, great changes will occur, or it may be that I keep on where I am now. Between then and now, I am sure that I will find guidance as I set one foot in front of another.