Tuesday, November 8, 2011


This evening I was reminded of something that I love but haven't experienced in a long while -- going to a yoga class in the daylight and coming out to drive home in the dark.  After a mellow class, after collecting my energy inward, the cocoon of the dark just feels right...not like coming out in the summer to bright, hot sunlight.  Maybe winter will be my season after all.

This afternoon's class was perfect for a stressed out, over-extended little girl such as myself...or so I'm feeling lately as we move full steam into the holidays. It was candlelit, with low lights and soft music.  We used props for supported, restorative poses like this supported child's pose...

I never think of doing poses like this at home on my own, until I was reminded this afternoon.  Using bolsters, having plenty of blankets and cushions, straps, an eye pillow...all essential, I realize now, for practicing at home. Gratefully, I acquired many props during my teacher training last year, and now have learned further how to use them!

Trooper obviously enjoys it, so why wouldn't I include it in my home practice?

Today's class allowed me to reconnect in a way I wasn't even entirely sure I needed.  I was feeling out of sorts, which prompted me to go in the first place, but it was like I was able to draw in my energy which was scattered in all directions.  My mind stilled by connecting the movements of my body and my breath. Working my muscles in standing and balancing poses seemed to bring my body back together -- not quite sure how else to describe this one -- as if by activating the inner layers of my body, I could collect the bits and pieces of myself that I had lost touch with over the past week. And moving through a series of downward dogs tuned me into strengthening my foundation by using my breath to ground myself in being present. I left class feeling soothed, nourished and fully embodied. Focused. At peace.

Could I have gotten what I needed doing yoga at home today?  Maybe.  But sometimes, you just need a class in order to let your mind go and just ride the wave of experience.  Sometimes, the collective energy of the group buoys you in a way you can't get practicing solo in a completely familiar environment.

Sometimes you need someone to help you step outside the box -- body, mind and spirit.

So where was I taking a class, you ask?  Believe it or not, I was back at Yoga4You using up the last class of the discounted class package that I bought many months ago. I went to the same Mindful Yoga class I did last time, took the chance that the teacher who was scheduled to teach it would be there (unlike last time), and lo and behold, she was. I already loved Jenn's classes, but this one so surpassed any expectations, it felt like a little gift. A beautiful send off...

Wait a minute.  Did I really say I didn't want to go there anymore?  The yoga studio with a scale in the lobby and Zumba classes?  Haven't my rollercoaster of experiences there set it so far outside of the realm of possibility for the perfect little yoga home I'm longing for? But this Mindful class was so incredibly soothing and so, very, very -- oh, what's the word? -- so mindful, so ideal for me, how could I not want to go back?

It makes me wonder...why can't I?

Ah, I remember...this is something I do! I hold on to an expectation, an ideal, sometimes to my detriment because I'm unwilling to see there can be a compromise, a balance, a happy medium. Sometimes I'm unable to remember that there is space for more if I allow it.  My mind, my ego, can get so tied to the perfect scenario that when something happens that falls short I throw the baby out with the bathwater.

What if we learn to take what works and leave the rest instead?

I might be drawing at straws here, but surely, a particular instructor can exist in a kind of a vacuum -- a situation where we can safely go to a place that might not be our favorite overall, simply for the possibility of having an experience that is ideal for that moment.

I don't have to love the studio or the complete vibe there in order to attend the class of a teacher I enjoy. Well, as long as she doesn't mysteriously disappear and that "other" teacher pops up in her place.  There is that.  But maybe, just maybe, if I can suspend my expectations, without losing touch with what I'm looking for, I might just access joy in the meantime.

Because here's the thing: Joy is available to us in every single moment as long as we are open to it. Which means we must be willing to let go of whatever we're holding onto in order to make space to receive it.

I'm sorry, what was that?  Oh yeah...now I remember!  Let go and ride the wave.//

What's For Dinner Tonight?
I just got done commenting this afternoon on Kath Eats Real Food that I wish I could find a way to incorporate more salads into my life.  I'm not a cold, raw food eater in general, mostly because of my allergies to many raw fruits and veggies, but also because cold food -- unless we're talking ice cream (!) -- just isn't my favorite.

Tonight, however, I got to thinking...how 'bout a warm salad?  Now that, I can do.

So, for dinner tonight, I had leftover Chicken Chalupas warmed with some basmati rice mixed in on a bed of baby spinach and red leaf lettuce, a little shredded cheese and Cholula on top as a sort of dressing.  It was fantastic!  And I enjoyed the added benefit of knowing I was getting my veggies as well.

Warm salads, it is.

And perhaps a little bitty scoop of Haagen Dazs Chai Ice Cream for dessert -- my current favorite!  YUM!

Have a great night!

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