Last night I started creating the required 1-page handout, which will be 2-pages double-sided so I can fit in as much yummy goodness as possible.
Eventually, I will likely share that handout on this blog, but for now, let’s just say it is important to acknowledge the mentors who have “held” us in our lives. Typically these are living people who have helped guide us along our path. And sometimes they are authors, people who share their wisdom on the pages we read and digest.
As I consider how to give back in this phase of life where I feel I have been successful and want to help mentor future leaders, I am enjoying going back to what I learned and reflecting on its impact on my life. I may share some of those nuggets here as reminders to myself more than anything.
Do you have mentors who have influenced your life in a positive way? Try sending them a note or give them a call to thank them for their contributions. It will surely brighten their day to know they made a difference to you. Then pass it on, and pay it forward.
On Saturday I will teach my first one hour soma yoga practicum to a several members of my YTT-200 class. I am a little nervous but mostly excited. Originally I was scheduled to teach on Sunday but I swapped with a classmate who needed to make a switch.
Good for me, I am getting it done soon! Wish me some good vibes. I will likely be done by the time you’re reading this but I don’t believe time is always linear, so I’ll accept your wishes before or after Saturday. 😉
And needless to say, I had no time to select a Saturday share post, so that feature will be back next week.
The other morning I opted for a home yoga practice using the audio from a Yoga Teacher Training class that had been recorded for our use.
The first practice called for a small sandbag to lay across our belly as we lay on our mat, to provide some sensory input to feel our diaphragmatic breath. I had no sandbag at home, so I used a small pillow to simulate at least the shape of a sandbag on my abdomen.
As I was considering whether I should place an order for such a thing, my big sandbag of a cat (Calvin) came up and draped himself across my belly, negating the need for that.
It’s hard to know why my cats find me so appealing when I practice yoga. I often think they like it when I am on the floor, practicing poses that get me closer to them. They also seem to understand that, after I practice yoga, my body seems to emit blissful energy and calm.
I realize that is probably fairly anthropomorphic for me to interpret their behavior in that way. There is something about those long inhales and exhales, those full belly breaths that get me into a state of ease. So many of us get used to breath-holding in our daily lives, bracing against stress, or simply holding ourselves in with uncomfortable clothing, belts, braces or even neckties.
What if we learned to embrace that full belly breath and to stop “sucking it in”? Our bellies are made to expand during the inhale. When we only allow for chest breathing, we end up with tightness and muscle tension in our shoulders and our neck. Shallowness in our breath can result in confused and disoriented states of mind.
It took me not very long on a therapeutic spinal strip to realize there was a lot of chronically held tension held in my back and shoulders. Indeed I have to consciously bring my shoulders down when I notice the slight scrunch that seems to happen subtly or when I am at a keyboard, mentally focused and working.
I am dismantling some of these patterns, and actively reminding myself in meditation and yoga to breathe fully. At the same I am learning to notice and slow down at more points throughout my day when I find my thoughts racing (and then usually notice the breath has followed). Then I consciously take in a few long inhales and exhales, bring myself back to the present and realize that my mind was caught up in a story about the future, or perhaps a regret about the past.
So simple, and yet so radical. Thank you, Calvin, for helping me sense and feel that breath deep into the belly. I know you do not struggle with this, and I appreciate re-learning this skill that we all master as infants and then forget.