Day 78: Morning Yoga

One critical and ongoing assignment of my yoga teacher training is  to create and maintain my own personal practice. That means practicing yoga by myself at home with no teacher, no studio, to one keeping me accountable except myself. Luckily, I have been meeting with an experienced yoga teacher who has been guiding me through the process of creating a manageable home practice (and not feeling bad about the days when it doesn't happen).

I have done okay with integrating yoga into my nightly routine fairly regularly, but it is the morning practice I often miss. This is generally because I wake up and immediately want to start working on the things I need to get done in the morning. You know, bathing, eating breakfast, and getting to work like any productive American should. But I also know that taking those first few minutes in the morning for myself will help me truly productive in all that I do during the day.

The last time I met with

Ruben Vasquez

, my teacher, he showed me a very simple sequence that can be done in just a few minutes. Ruben

wrote about this sequence on his blog

and even made a video. Maybe this is something you can add to your practice too.

For the past 10 days or so, I have incorporated this sequence into the start of my day and feel a little more grounded and present. It doesn't take long, and I am finding more and more that I am adding some other postures to the sequence and even sometimes a full sun salutation.

Finally on the path to a morning practice! One day at a time...

Day 71: Biking to Yoga

Well, first off I am thankful today that I finally made it back to one of my favorite yoga classes. It has been a struggle the past few weeks to make it to yoga class.  I have been getting out of work just late enough to miss most classes that I like to go to. So when my client for this evening rescheduled I said, "Yes! I'm going to yoga."

But not only did I go to yoga tonight, I rode my bike. I live only a 5 minute drive from the studio, so on bike it is a 10 minute ride, tops. With the weather cooler but not cold, this is the perfect time for an evening ride.

The class itself is a challenging one, which is why I enjoy it so much, and when I first starting attending it last Spring, I thought I'd be crazy to bike to it. Since I leave the class pooped, how would I ever get home?  But the more I went the more I found that I wasn't leaving the class exhausted, but energized.

So tonight I got home in just enough time to feed the dogs, change my clothes and grab my bike.  It was the best decision.  I feel like I used my body they way it wants to be used, needs to be used. After an hour and some of intense yoga and riding to and from I feel so


. Why don't I do this everyday?

Then I suggest to my future self: Why don't you do that tomorrow?

Day 59: Sharing my Practice

Last night during my trying-to-be-more-consistent yoga practice, I had this moment of sudden wisdom. Occasionally, a thought comes into my head that feels too weighted to just be a thought. They are thoughts that can't be shook off or easily replaced by a new thought. They are thoughts that linger, steep, find their way into every bit of my body.  These are thoughts not to be ignored. These are more than thoughts, they are truth.

So last night, as I was moving from one pose to the next, it hit me: I chose to be spiritually alone. I don't think I really know the full truth of that statement, but there is something so right and almost comforting about this realization.

Without recounting the entirety of my spiritual life, I will state simply that I've felt alone through the journey. Maybe everyone does. Maybe that is the essence of the spiritual life. Maybe that is the fate of many of us living in a secular world without a secure and solid spiritual community around us. I don't know. But what I do know is that I've always felt out-of-place in some way. I've always longed for the spiritual community that I see others have, but I am unable to commit myself fully to any particular tradition. Usually, I say I am unaffiliated, which is a more neutral way of saying, "I'm spiritual, but just not religious."

In that flash that formed in my mind last night, I saw that so much of my life has been governed by this "


" and I felt in that moment that it was not by chance or because of some wrongness with the world, but because there was a sacred choice I made when I come into this life that I would find my own path. It is amazing the power in recognizing one's choices.

Immediately after having that thought, I felt so thankful for my choice. I feel like I am free to find the divine in my own way, make up my own rituals, my own rites of passage, my own practices. I feel free instead of stranded.


I write this post in the aftermath of our second

Tea + Meditation

event. In all this aloneness, in cultivating the space within me, in my own way, I've found the profound connections this can create. Because I don't have a distinct community, all are my community. Tonight, nine of us shared a pot of tea and a moment together. All in our own space, yet we all affected the space for us all. I found myself saying, "You have a place, and that place is important." Then I hear the grandmother voice of wisdom within me whisper to the curious child beside her, "That means you too."

If I wasn't holding this space for others, those words wouldn't have emerged. They think I am leading the meditation, but I am being led too.

Day 51: Free Yoga

Did you know that you get a free yoga class at the

Lotus Pond

during the week of your birthday? I didn't until an email appeared in my inbox yesterday. So tonight I totally took advantage.

I've only been to the Lotus Pond a handful of times, mostly for kirtan (Indian call and response chanting) events. But every time, I am transported by the beauty of the space. I feel like I am away on a mountain retreat, though I'm only a few steps away from my day-to-day life.

Well, their marketing worked because I've decided that the 20-25 min. drive is SO WORTH IT. Lotus Pond, may I see you again very soon.

Day 42: I Love Yous

My yoga teacher recommended I integrate my daily gratitude with my daily yoga practice. He said fill my heart with the gratitude I feel for your daily gratitude for the day, with each breath. So today I was about to begin my yoga practice and I hadn't yet decided on what I was going to post as my gratitude for the day. Then, just like that, the answer came.

My friend that I hadn't talked to in a while called, so I decided to answer it. We spent about 10 minutes catching up and he ended the call the same way he does every time we part; he said, "I love you."

Most often I've shared those words with my parents, when parting in person or on the phone, and also some family. I also share those words with my boyfriend and a few close friends. Only recently have I started to cherish it more and more each time.

It seems like more of my friends have initiated "I love you"s within the past few years. Maybe its that I'm older and have known more people longer, or we are all more mature and know that "I love you" doesn't = "I want to have sex with you," or I'm surrounding myself with more loving people. Maybe, shmaybe, I don't really care what it is, I just want to say I love it.

Recently I initiated "I love you" with someone I feel close with but had never spoke the words in person. It felt amazing. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. <3

Day 41: Self-Compassion

So I missed posting my gratitude yesterday. I made up for it today so I am still on track but broke my posting-everyday-streak.

And I'm totally okay with that.

It's funny, we talked in my yoga teacher training class today about reciting mantras as a practice and how typically you want to do a practice for 40 days. I've heard elsewhere that if you break a practice, you should start again. I think it is funny that I broke this practice on the 40th day, but I feel it is a good thing I signed up for 101 because as far as 40 days are concerned, I've got 40 (plus 21) more days to get it right.

The truth is that it probably doesn't matter to anyone else whether or not I post everyday. So if I get upset about it, it's just about me. If I have compassion about it, I can move on and have gratitude for that. I'll go with that route.

Day 33: My Practice

The past few days have presented me with a few challenging situations in which my mindfulness practice has become invaluable. All in all, things are great.  There is really one incident in particular that has been calling for way more of my mental attention it deserves. Being able to focus on what I am doing instead of steaming in what I should say now or should've done before is what is getting me through it. And without the mindfulness, I would have already said things I shouldn't. So instead, I am being with the amazement of another person's "stuff" and how they want to place it on me.  Being with the amazement of it doesn't mean I am wearing it. It just means I am working on my compassion and being thankful for this opportunity to learn how other people like to wear their "stuff" accumulated in this like. I'm thankful I can recognize what is under the surface without being pulled under also. My practice is my life raft.

This is why we meditate and do yoga. When we practice being with what is when 'what is' is fairly neutral, then we are more like to be with what is when it is freaking crazy.

Day 13: When Something Clicks

Yesterday I was driving and someone cut me off. Not really bad, but it was definitely my right of way and they went instead. As I continued on behind them I felt my mind starting to form the thought of being upset. I saw a bumper sticker on their car for the Christian radio station and I felt myself starting to "go there" with the thought. And then in the next moment - ZAP - I felt the judgement, still not fully formed, suddenly disappear from my consciousness. The whole instance happened in only a few seconds, and all I was left with was awe.

I'm usually having to backtrack negative thought patterns; meaning I will have them, then realize it, then reframe the whole thing.  This experience yesterday was a completely different process that I had never consciously witneseds before. It was like some new metal alignment took place.

All I can say is yoga is definitely working for me.

Day 9: More Yoga! More Yoga!

Yesterday I met with one of my yoga teachers privately and became again enraptured with yoga's techniques in the practice of living.  I'm so thankful to have been introduced to this teacher, to be led on this path, and to be continuing my way through it. There is challenges, often, but the payoff of peace and presence makes it well worth it.

Actively incorcorating more yoga into my life is continuing to seem like one of the best things I might do. Ever. That's a lot to be thankful for.

June's Project

Time to re-cap and set new intentions:

So I began this blog at the beginning of May with the intention to write on here everyday.  During the first few days of the blog, I saw that the Sacred Tremor was also doing a 30-day project. I hadn't at that point thought about having a limited time to "write on here everyday," but after watching the TED talk about it, I decided 30 days was a good bet. And maybe I'd try to do something different everyday for 30 days. 

As you can see, I didn't write on here everyday for 30 days.  But I'm okay with that.  I at least wrote on here 17 out of 31 days, and that's just about over half... more importantly, I'm pleased with what I did write on here and am motivated to keep exploring myself publicly.  I am in the business of helping others make changes in their life and I know that means I have to do it too.  The thought here is that maybe reading about my struggles can help others; in the least, writing about it helps me. 

So my 30-day project for June is to do yoga everyday.  This means go to a class or do at least one full sun salutation.  So far through June I've done my project. We are only on day five though, so let's see what happens next week...