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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Posting and Updating or Writing and Stamping? A Time-Out from Social Media

Sometimes I wonder how we are all walking around vertically and not lying down frozen in a prostrate position. One minute you’re cracking up as your toddler ravishes his first ice cream cone, and then you scroll through social media and see a friend had a family member pass away, and you’re heartbroken.

It’s the real. It’s the real in our fast-paced, social media world of tweets and posts, updates, and check-ins.wp_20160912_005

While social media certainly has it’s positive place in our lives, I have found it to be a hindrance, too. A hindrance because we have a key-hole view into peoples’ lives with whom we’ve likely had no personal interaction or true conversation for five, ten, fifteen plus years. The danger is we remain only superficially connected in that we have the ability to see what someone else puts out there and only what they put out there. Those posts affect us.

We are all so busy and we’ve never had faster communication or more methods to communicate in all of history. Yet, we seem more disconnected regardless of all our profiles, dot-coms, and instantaneous updates.wp_20160912_010

Now, I don’t think it’s better to go back to telephones with party lines and neighbors picking up the line and interrupting our phone calls every few minutes, nor do I believe we should allow social media to anger us to the point that every 6 months we delete our accounts only to realize we no longer have an old friend’s phone number, and we shouldn’t have deleted our account in frustration at the big bad internet.

How do we enjoy technology and still feel like we are connecting on a deeper level with those we care about?

Quality over quantity. Even in letter-writing days, even when communities were smaller, one didn’t write every single person with whom he or she had come into contact. He or she communicated based on need or desire, time allotted, and money afforded. Most social media is free. Practice selectivity in posting and updating. Pretend dollar bills are flying out of your pockets with the more time spent/characters typed (hello Twitter!) on social media platforms. After all, time is money, so they say. wp_20160912_001-2

Less is more. Frustrated with the cattle-call communication of modern technology? Irritated with the lack of personalization of the social media post or message over a text, or the text over a phone call? Tired of getting angry at a person’s post with whom you no longer have a relationship? Offended by how everyone is always “offended” by a remark or comment? Change your patterns. Don’t check profiles on your phone, but only on the computer. Schedule time to be on platforms. Set an alarm. Tell your spouse or roommate to dump ice down your back…whatever it takes.

In response to my frustration, I have started to write a letter to one friend a week. Mostly this is one-sided, but I figure if I do this, maybe someone will be glad to get something in the mail other than a bill, and they’ll eventually write me back. This affords me the opportunity to sit with my coffee or tea, concentrate on that person, only. While writing, the pace slows down, and I take time to truly share and connect with that friend and ask pointed questions. I offer news in our family and life. I connect with someone who is very dear to me with whom I have little contact anymore. It has been enlightening for me and I hope it has made my friend glad to know I spent time communicating at a deeper level. I focus on my penmanship (you can always type) and the immediacy of each word.
Letter-writing. What used to be mainstream social media is now a rarity. Making statements with pen and paper truly makes a statement.

Prost,

J.