Friday, August 17, 2012

balancing act

Today is my last first day of school. Weird.  It is an extreme bittersweet feeling, I have literally been working towards this goal for as long as I can remember, but I feel a little bit of emptiness. What do I do now? I think I have to be an adult. Not so interested in that part. But that's a few months off, and today I'm just going to deal with today.

Today I have to go back to my balancing act. I don't get to be the sweaty yogini that I've been for the last month.  I have to put on real clothes.  That don't involve spandex.  Add that to the list of things I'm not so interested in.  But alas, here I am in my first day of school outfit (yes, I laid it out last night), backpack packed and ready to go.

This morning as I got ready and ran a few errands I really meditated (or "thought about" for you non-sweaty people) on how to keep a nice balance between all that I do.  I am often told that I take too much onto my plate, that I'm doing too much.  This may be true, but balancing it what I do, when I only have one thing to focus on I go a little crazy. So today I'm taking one more thing onto my plate, filling up on not just yoga but now a healthy helping of tax law.

As sad and weird as it feels to be near the end of my life as a student, I'm amazed at how my track has changed from my "plan". Yes, I've always wanted to to go to law school and now that's almost over, but I've picked up some extra little things along my path. The empty feeling of being so close to the end of law school really has been filled by the extras that I've picked up.

Yoga is one of those extras, even though I've been practicing for much longer than I've been a law student, my practice has deepened significantly while in law school.  Not what one might expect, but thats just how it worked out.  So, as I make my schedule (yes, I write out my schedule a week in advance) it includes studying and class, but it also includes my own practice and time to teach others.

Its all about balance, we don't all have law school and yoga but we all have careers, family, gym, partner, friends, and ourselves.  Maybe writing out your schedule a week in advance is crazy, but maybe if it lets you get a little more onto your plate with ease it's worth it.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

the light in me sees the light in you

Anyone who has been to a yoga class has heard this word, namaste.  It happens to be that I have been thinking about this word quite a bit over the past few days and weeks. Likely because I have finished my official teacher training, with just a few hours to spend with Fred in the studio left before I'm unleashed on the yoga world. As I finished this part of my yoga journey I found that I wanted to thank those around me and the word namaste kept coming to mind. Some of you may have seen the picture and note that I posted on facebook thanking all my teachers and fellow yogis:
To all of my amazing yoga teachers and those who have shared the mat with me: You each bring a wonderful light into my life. I am eternally greatful for each and every one of you and all that you give to me through your words, actions, and thoughts. I would have never made it through teacher training without your love. I say to each of you with the deepest sense of gratitude, namaste.

When I first started practicing I said namaste because that's what yoga people do. At the end of class you say namaste. I was told the basic definition "the light in me, honors, recognizes, and loves the light in you", or something close to that. I was satisfied with that definition for a long time. I've heard some variations over the years, but that is the heart of it.

I've been bopping around the Internet looking for other meanings, deeper meanings and I ran across an article today (how convenient!). The definition I liked the most was this one:

As my journey has taken me deeper, both into the asana practice and also into the other limbs of yoga, namaste has taken on something greater.  Maybe greater isn't the right word, but truer. I actually do recognize that light in those around me.  My yogis truly bring a light into my life in a unique way that I have never before experienced.

Let me break it down for you non-sweaty people.  Those of us who spend hours on the mat, sweating, wearing spandex, discussing natural deodorant, and the best brand of kombucha, share something.  Something deeper than general sweaty stinkyness (we do have that too).  I have found that these are the people who greet me with a hug every time they see me.  These are the people who look at me differently than anyone else in my life.

There is something very particular about the way yoga people look and speak to each other.  Something that made me uncomfortable when I was new to this world. Yoga people speak close.  They are in your personal space and they touch you.  No regard for the fact that you have been sweating your asana off.  And, they look right into your eyes.  Not in the make eye contact in a job interview sort of way, in the I'm really listening to you and understanding you way.  Its a little scary at first, because we spend most of our time not doing that or just looking at people in a cursory way.

So why do yogis get so close and look so deep? I think it comes back to namaste. If you aren't looking deep how could you possibly see the light in someone else?  By looking deeply into those around us we are able to see the light that shines from them and we are able to acknowledge how much we love them for that.  We look deep to see the light in others, because that light is a reflection of the light within ourselves.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

ups and downs

I've had a crazy few days. Teacher training with Allaine is wrapping up, I have both of my written exams and one of my practicals on Friday.  On top of that life has thrown a few challanges at me. My computer decided it would go on summer vacation (have I backed up you ask? Of course not!). I got in a car accident (I'm fine a cab hit me).

I have found that this yoga teacher training, what I might see as the pinnacle of my yoga journey so far, has been an incredible experience of getting to know myself, the things I love about me and the things I wish I did differently.  In the past I have been reactive, when someone did something I didn't like, I let them know. Like, 3 seconds after they did whatever that thing was. I had no delay button. I got really angry really fast, and frequently. That is a little trait that seems to have disappeared, thankfully.

My lack of patience has been replaced with a deep sense of gratitude and love.  I'm doing that thing that annoys me when someone else does it, I'm clearly talking about something specific in a sort of generalized way, so I'll just tell you what happened.  I had a member of my family do something very hurtful to me, they told me they didn't want me to be a part of their lives anymore, I was disowned.  Six months or a year ago I might have blown up at them, a month ago I might have felt really sorry for myself and wondered what I had done wrong and wallowed.

Instead I had this interaction and I instantly felt abundant love for them. I dedicated my yoga practice to them the next time I was on the mat. Was what they did hurtful? Absolutely. Am I hurt by it? Not at all.

I feel immense love and gratitude for that person for all of the time they were in my life, even if they choose to not be in it any longer. And the reality is a space has been created for more love to come into my life. I now have more space for more friends and family to be welcomed in.

To some this will seem like a callous reaction, you might even think that I'm just not dealing with what is going on.  But what I'm telling you is the absolute truth for me. My yoga journey has changed me in many ways, from buying weirder stuff at the grocery store to wearing spandex on a almost constant basis. Most importantly I have a profound sense of gratitude for my life and all of my experiences, so much so that when something happens that might be "bad" or "hurtful" all I feel is love for the person I am interacting with.

with a deep sense of gratitude for your presence in my life,

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Mom is always right...

One of my favorite things in life is being surprised. This doesn't happen often, just ask my boyfriend. I am nearly impossible to surprise. So I was pleased as peaches today (excuse my crazy phrases I think I'm high on headstands) when I was surprised.

On the first day of teacher training a few rules were laid out, you may remember them from my first post. One of them was that we could not complain. About anything. Ever. At the time Fred told us that if we did this we would see a difference when other people complained to us. We would see it as weakness. As Fred said this, Allaine nodded her head. This idea was sealed by the two people who were in charge of my life, it was now a fact. Complaining = weakness. I thought they were wrong. They were, as they usually are, right. 

At the time that seemed harsh to say we would think others were weak. Very harsh. But then today, I found myself listening to a friend complaining and I wanted to look at them and say, "Well if you have a problem fix it, but this conversation is highly annoying and you just sound whiny." Whoa, thats a little out of character. Harsh. But that was how I felt. 

I have been going through this challenging journey and I have been kicking ass if I do say so myself. As this person whined to me and ignored all suggestions of solutions all I could think about was how out of control of their own life they are. I have to admit it, I thought they were weak. 

This obviously is not the nicest thought I have ever had. It was followed by immediate guilt for thinking such a negative thought about someone else. Then I thought about something that my mom has told me my entire life. Prepare yourselves you're about to get sage Fancy Nancy advice: only be friends with people who make you the best version of yourself. 

The thoughts I was having were not making me the best version of myself. I realized that being friends with someone who chooses not to control their destiny and rather than complain take action is not going to make me the person I want to be. But I also realized I could use my frustration to practice compassion and love. 

Overall a day of wonderful lessons: 1. Mom is always right 2. You can always be surprised 3.  Allaine and Fred are almost as right as Mom.