Yoga me Yes! Independent Yoga Practice – Part II

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The reason we are called The Emerald Coast

Who are you? What defines you? Is your occupation who you are or simply what you’re good at? Teacher, Flight Attendant, Doctor, Mechanic, Server, Lawyer? Does your role in personal relationships define you? Parent, Spouse, Child? Sibling, Cousin, Friend? Is it a hobby or a faith?

We have this 24/07 newsreel society. We are plugged in, turned on, our faces reflected in the bright white flashing of scrolling screens – images everywhere – dulling our eye contact with real-life humans in front of us.

Escapeism has always existed. Screens – phones, computers, and tablets are just the new wrapping paper in which a very old, regifted concept of “checking-out” is prettily presented.

Balance. We need balance, and unplugging should be part of all our daily routines.

I love to be outside. I love yoga. A little over a week ago, I decided to consistently let myself have both of those and to time my sessions with the sunrise. The last half of my week was a challenge. We had a busy weekend schedule, and my work-load amped up. Our homeschool group had our first activity after summer break, also. Yet, I set the priority, and I kept my practice – no YouTube, no walls; rather, I had outside, self-guided yoga practice.

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Beautiful Pines in my back yard illuminated with the pink and orange light from the sunrise.

Session 5: It was tough to get to my mat. However, I worked it in. The rain from tropical storm Gordon left everything outside soaked (even our back porch). So, that was the only day I practiced inside. I snatched a 25ish minutes to practice, decompress, and continue about my day.

Session 6: Our subconscious minds fascinate me. While practicing, I reached a new level with a balance posture. The consistent practice had prepared me. I write, daily. I try to work on my novel, daily, in the are-you-crazy-for-waking-this-early-Janie? morning hours. After writing, I went to my mat. While I haven’t had writer’s block, I have had a plot-hurdle to work through, and the answer came, and it was so simple. Why hadn’t I thought of it before?

Session 7: During this last session, I rested more. I truly listened to my body. I focused on areas where I was the most stiff, and then I moved into a general flow. I allowed quiet in.

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Bumblebee in the grass

My last session during this week was filled with gratitude for what I have. I am always grateful, but in my heart, I have moments of sadness that occasionally whisper by like a ghost from the past because I miss someone who has died. So many. And, then, I look up and see my husband, our son; I see that the trees are green and the roses are red; I see a snail inching by or bees bouncing in the too-long, rain soaked grass, and I know God gives me those moments to bring me back. To heal me, a little more. To remind me of his presence and his love.

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My Mac, running and playing in our back yard. 

Yoga is a stretching of the body, the mind, and the spirit, I believe. All my life I have had morning devotional time, prayer time, and that is one time I experience God guiding me. I have discovered that, without book, bible, journal, and pen in hand, this is another time in which I hear the Lord, and it is good. We don’t allow ourselves the time to reflect. Our bodies, our minds, our souls are a gift, and we shouldn’t squander them. Yoga is a time we can move our body and in doing so, our body’s movement allows our mind and soul to move in new ways. Then, we discover a little more about who we are.

 

Namaste and all that jazz,

JG

 

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Yoga me Yes! Indpendent Yoga Practice: Part I

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I am entering the busy part of my work schedule. In the past, I have occasionally allowed work to take over and at the end, while I may not look it on the outside, I feel like a hunched-over, joint-popping, creaky crone who can hardly move.  At the beginning of this week, I determined to explore practicing yoga totally on my own for the period of a week. I have documented the sessions on my Instagram account at @emeraldgreenwriter. This is the half-way point in my week-long journey. Best thing is, I don’t feel like that creaky old crone!

First, it was a rough start!

Session 1: I started well, found a great yoga music track on Prime, but I became distracted. Each day, I practice outside while my son is asleep and before my husband leaves for work. I had my baby monitor with me that we still use since we are in a two-story house, and I kept hearing toy sounds. I checked it a few times thinking my son was awake, but I didn’t hear him. Turns out it was a Thomas the Train riding toy going berserk on the back porch. So, I got back to my practice, but I kept thinking about how I would record my journey. I planned posts. I planned blogs. Then, I stopped. I refocused. I finished my session, and I realized how hard it is to turn my “thinking mind” off without a cue from an instructor. I had a lot to work on, the first being focus and remaining present. I decided there are a few poses I wanted to work on each day. It was really amazing to see a friendly neighborhood bumblebee eating its morning breakfast from my painted lady hibiscus. IMG_2507

Session 2: I started recording by days, and I skipped day 2. I know, I made a commitment, and I didn’t even get to day 2. It had been a rough sleep night with the munchkin and a very busy family day. So, I forgave myself, moved on, and started session 2 on the third day. I had much better focus and balance. That was my little mantra: focus and balance. It was wonderful. I love seeing the moon against the light blue and pink sky as the sun rises. Only when I get up early and go outside, do I get to see such sights. I used no music, but I simply let the sound of the wind in the trees and the birds waking to be my background audio calm. IMG_2525

Session 3: I listened to the audio track I found during session 1. Calm and balance. Stillness. Being performance based with years of dance training, cheerleading as a teenager, with yoga, I fall into the habit of wanting to “hit” each pose synchronized with my breath. I want to “do” my yoga correctly. I realized this and caught myself. Yoga is about the journey. It’s more about the journey than the destination. The “how” you move from one “position” or “pose” to another is what gives you strength and builds your muscles, clams your mind, and enriches your spirit. The whole experience can’t exist without the in between, without the journey. So, at the end of my session, I held mountain pose and practiced just “being,” and that is hard to do! It’s difficult to be present. Practice reflects life: enjoy the journey and be present.

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Session 4: So-called distractions don’t have to be distracting. Embrace and incorporate. Allow and celebrate. My sweet son walked out on the porch, and I gave him a snuggle and kiss while in warrior 2 position, and I asked if he’d like to go see the bumblebees eating their breakfast. He said yes, and I directed him to the painted lady hibiscus. We talked about his new toy lobster from our friends who brought it back to him from their trip to Main. We named it Larry.

Ultimately, I’m learning to trust myself in my own practice. Without getting too mystical, it is a good time to move, simply be, and experience epiphanies that may not as easily occur without the practice.

Namaste,

J.