As each new day dawns
In symphonies of color
Can we take it in?
As a new yoga teacher, I am surprised sometimes to learn how many people have misconceptions about yoga. Many are scared to try it – “it looks too hard!” they claim. Or “I’m not flexible enough!”
Because of the way yoga is marketed typically, I can understand where these misconceptions arise. Look at most covers of Yoga Journal or even ads in your Instagram feed that feature yoga and you will see taut bodies in shapes that may not look possible for you.
In truth, yoga is about “union” of mind and body (and some say spirit). It is a practice that allows us to realize our true nature. And perhaps most importantly, it is a practice to calm your nervous system. For me, that latter part is especially important. I find that, with all of the available “feeds” coming in, it is far too easy for me to become over-stimulated. A good yoga practice brings me back to my body, my breath and the present moment.
Yoga is preparation for meditation practice, for a process of getting still and looking inward. Generally meditation calls for an upright spine and focused attention. It is awfully hard to sit for very long if you have tight hips or a sore back. So yes, there is an aspect of physicality that is important. And, with an attitude of play and curiosity, yoga becomes an exploration of oneself and our inner being.
The more I teach, the deeper I go into the traditions and into the vast layers of this ancient practice. It is a science and also an art. I’m so grateful to have this tool for calming my nervous system, especially in times of great change and upheaval globally.
P.S. If you want to try an accessible practice, our next online Sunday (re)Treat is SomaRestore for Gardening and features guest teacher Grant Foster. Register at this link by choosing “Sunday (re)Treat” from the drop-down menu. Hope to see you there!
My mother’s day virtual retreat may have an international audience! So far a couple of my yoga students are inviting daughter or family members and right now it looks like we may have one participant from Mexico and one from Portugal. I’m so honored. I also may have a cousin from Alaska and from Oregon there, I’m psyched!
But still, there is room for a few more, and I had such a great response to my last offering of this kind, I’m humbly putting out the invitation again. The special offer is to buy one registration (sliding fee: $12-25) and send the link to a family member or friend who also wants to have a Sunday (Re)treat with you! Physical distance plus social presence! Everyone can benefit.
This 90-minute yoga experience is video optional via Zoom. We will start with soma yoga, a gentle practice of movement to release tension in our spine and joints. We then do some yin yoga, longer-held poses to work with the fascia. We end with restorative yoga, some long-held poses to calm the nervous system. I will cue the entire practice so that you can be eyes closed and relaxed onto a mat, the bed or the floor. Bring blankets, pillows and towels to help “craft” the supports and I will show you those as well.
P.S. If you sign up by 6pm on Saturday I’ll have the best likelihood of sending the Zoom link on time. And if you’ve never tried a yoga experience with me, and have some financial hardship, email me to let me know and I’ll send you a free “coupon” if you join my mailing list.
Tai chi in the park
Humans moving Together
And safely apart
P.S. This is the fan form group. I was honored to participate in Aimee’s tai chi yang-style group after learning the basics her 10-session daily series in early April. Her next online class series starts April 29th. If you are looking for a great moving meditation practice, I highly recommend it!
Content here first appeared on Linked in on April 14, 2020. It has been edited for WordPress and re-formatted.
Are you feeling like your head is busy and your body is unsettled?
Maybe you are trying to work from home, and it now seems like all you do is work…
Or maybe you are managing children’s “school at home” schedules and you are also expected to get work done.
With the uncertainty and virus concerns, many of us exist in a new reality. Even if we might worked at home before now and then, now we are possibly sharing space with more people.
We don’t necessarily have the “commute bumper” of our day to delineate starting and stopping anymore. For some of us, maybe the dining room is now our makeshift office. Pets or children may interrupt us many times a day, not understanding that it’s a Tuesday, not a weekend!
It does not help that the news can be grim, and that we worry about the state of our health, our loved ones, and of just how the world will “recover” from such a disruption. While we may be able to focus on certain aspects of our work during the day, we cannot totally keep from wondering… what is next?
During this period of collective upheaval and change it is important to schedule self-care into our day. I’m writing this while snow swirls outside in Minnesota as we speak. So while a walk would be lovely and I highly encourage that as a routine for before or after your workday, or after lunch, it does not always appeal.
Other things you can do include taking a break and making a cup of tea, and allowing yourself to step away from your desk. Grab a journal and write out your thoughts, or draft a screenplay scene with yourself as the protagonist.
If you’re like me, you will add yoga or other movement as part of your day. There are online NIA classes you might take. Perhaps some quiet meditation or listening to some soothing music will help you calm and center. Or engaging your creativity by getting out the paints or even some play-doh (remember kindergarten?) will give your mind a rest.
Whatever you decide to do, realize that these self-care activities are not optional. They are not frivolous, because they provide a respite from our left hemispheric thinking, which can be unrelenting. While thinking and problem-solving are wonderful aspects of our human capacity, over-emphasis can lead to anxiety, a focus on doing rather than being, and sometimes even insomnia.
I wish you well. I hope you experiment with and discover the activities that nourish your whole self, and nurture calm, clarity and resilience. I would love to hear about your favorite ways to relax in the comments below!
Take much care,
P.S. If you have not already found online yoga options and want to join a live community of people via Zoom to practice restorative or slow flow yoga online, please join my email list (email@example.com) to get a free class offer. Or you can sign up for a sliding fee yoga class here. No prior experience necessary. Thank you for your interest!