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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Life after vacation

I had the best vacation ever. Three weeks of traveling through Massachusetts, Maine, and Nova Scotia with a great guy + seeing beautiful scenery + staying in interesting places + meeting interesting people = heaven on earth!

I kept thinking I would blog about it like I did earlier in the year, but since we were on the road alot, and out of the country, internet was sometimes iffy so I just wrote longhand in my journal and took a lot of pictures. If you want to see them, here is a link to the google album.

Robert bought me a book at the airport on the way home. I wasn’t sure I would like it, but turns out it is really speaking to me. The book is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I read more than half on the trip home. Mostly what I am taking away from it is that if a person decides to pursue a life of creativity, there will always be uncertainty. And that if I pursue perfectionism, I will never be happy. Just write, or paint, or knit, or… whatever you feel like doing. And don’t fret about the outcome. Do it if you love it, and if you don’t love it, don’t do it.

I think that’s great advice. I have written quite a bit just for myself since I came home. I put paint to canvas – actually I want to try to paint some version of the beauty that I saw on my trip. I painted over a painting that I had done in one of those paint with wine classes. ¬†So far, this is what I have:¬†wpid-wp-1446310034715.jpeg

This is what I’d like to paint:
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I imagine I’ll end up with some sort of abstract, which is what I’m usually most happy with. The great thing about paint is that you can paint over it!

The other thing I’m taking from the book is¬†that¬†you are never too old to learn something new. The author¬†shared a story about a 90 year old woman she’d met who has spent the last 10 years learning about ancient Mesopotamia and is¬†now considered an expert! Very encouraging for me as I continue to pursue my study of ayurveda. I was doing quite a bit of moaning about it, but no more! I am a youngster compared to her!

The first few days back at work I felt very zen. My mind was clear and full of memories of beauty, like the above picture from Maine. It’s been two weeks now, and the last few days were so busy that I lost some of that. But I am working on practicing mindfulness, which is really just being aware of what I am doing when I am doing it. I have found inspiration in this area through¬†the writings of Thich Nhat Hanh.

While we were traveling, we ate, drank, and were merry, so when we got home we decided to get back in shape with the Hot Belly Diet. I had felt rather sluggish but within a few days regained my usual vigor. I am also walking more and am using a couple of those 30 day app challenges Рone for the arms and the other for the butt! The ones I chose are by Teer, and are very doable. I tried  a different one but it had jumping jacks and side planks so I quickly deleted it. Gotta be realistic.

So life goes on, with its joys and sorrows. Today it is raining, tomorrow the sun will come out. I work to feed the body and create to feed the soul.

What will the next adventure be? ¬†I’m already speculating.