Archive for the 'meditation' Category

hostage: yoga mat

There was an assignment during one of my teacher trainings to create my ideal practice schedule — time, length, and type. I dreamed of having two hours of practice every day from 10-noon. For various reasons that seemed like the Perfect Yoga Life.

Ah, if only… at the time, I had a real job and was sitting at a desk during regular work hours. So I carved out other, less ideal times and went about my way.

that was then…

I still work at a desk, but it’s in my home… where I make my own hours and answer only to the voices in my head.

And yet… I practice less. For a yoga teacher (or in my schema of how a yoga teacher should be), I do actual asana practice pretty infrequently.

what’s going on?

There are numerous reasons my self-care goes in cycles — some personal, some not all that interesting.

What I know is this: I’ve been on a self-abuse spree. Good habits supporting sleeping, eating, practice, and general self care have been sadly lacking. The consequence is exacerbated by the fact that I am so hard on myself when I don’t meet my expectations (including the shame that is here in admitted this to you).

a teacher needs to prep, but a girl’s got to practice

There’s a saying that we teach for ourselves and we practice for our students. I agree. And I would expand it to say that we practice for the world — for our families, our co-workers, our neighbors, people we meet on the street, people we don’t even know.

Not only is it true that I can’t give what I don’t have (as a good accountant will remind you), the effects don’t stop at the people within my arm’s reach. When I’m connected through my practice to my body, breath, and the moment, I meet the world from that place. I respond to the world from that place.

june

One of the things I was reminded of during the Healthy Eating Cleanse at the studio is that I do well with structure. I like defined boundaries, check boxes, and measurable outcomes. Maybe there’s a little leftover Business Consultant in me.

Left to my own devices and generalities like I will practice more this week, I know I will not practice “more.” It’s too easy to let the morning slip away, and then it’s 4pm, and then there’s someone who needs something and all of a sudden it’s time to go to bed.

Because this online community of people near and far is so amazing and supportive, and you’re so good at creating accountability, I am making a practice commitment for the month of June:

I will practice every day.

On days I teach (3 days a week), “practice” may be as simple as legs up the wall before bed (serving two goals: a better night’s sleep and self-love time).

On days I do not teach, I will devote at least two hours of practice time on my mat. Not class prep, but me time.

And I will increase my twice weekly sits (with The Virtual Buddhas) to five, even if it’s just a few minutes.

priorities

It really comes down to what’s important? As I’ve written about many times, it’s difficult for me to say I am important. Important enough to take care of and nourish and love.

And you are too!

——————————————————————————————————————–

How do you take care of yourself? Among all the things in life that ask of your attention, how do you make time for yourself? Where do say No?

Really, do tell. It may inspire someone else whose self-love account is a little low.

And feel free to state a commitment of your own. Feels so gooood to write it down!

Be well friends. xo

ps- Here’s the real reason I haven’t been using my props. Shiva the kitty is holding them hostage! Ransom: a large bowl of canned cat food.

Advertisements

let’s sit together


Photo credit: Ashlee Gadd

After missing the Women’s Meditation Retreat at Spirit Rock last year, I promised myself I’d go this year.

But for a myriad of different reasons, I am not going again.

I attended this retreat for two consecutive years and had profound, albeit different, experiences at each. It’s a highly scheduled, controlled, quiet, introspective time. For me it was as painful as it was peaceful (as sitting with yourself can be), and the effects stayed with me for weeks/months/ever.

In part, I look to this retreat to reconnect me with my sitting practice, which admittedly ebbs and flows. After a week of sitting 4-5 hours throughout the day, 30 minutes in the morning seems pretty doable.

But why does it have to be so extreme?

Why do I need to jump back in with 4-5 hours of sitting (and 3-4 hours of walking meditation) to get started?

Isn’t it the small steps that count? The day to day that makes a difference?

Would you like to sit together?

As a form of accountability, and also because it is wonderful to sit with other people, I invite you to virtually sit with me for the next 3 weeks: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:15 – 6:30 am. Rise with the sun at 6, pee, get some tea, get what you need to be comfortable, and get online. I’ll ring the bell at 6:15, we’ll sit together in quiet, and the bell will indicate the closure of our sit 15 minutes later.

Maybe you’ve never tried sitting meditation, or you have tried and you felt completely tortured, or you sit twice a day and watch the thought clouds pass by. Skill, experience, even affinity for sitting do not matter.

Why? or How?

I have had periods of mostly peaceful — or at least not combative — sitting. And, I’ve had periods of such distraction and discomfort that getting through five minutes was all I could bear.

What I know is this: no matter what the quality of the sit — how “right” I think I did it — my day is better for it. My state of mind is more clear. My attention is more present. I am more patient and connected.

If you are interested (oh, I hope you are…) email me at michelle@itsallyoga.com and I will send all the details on the virtual magic that will make this possible.

There is room for 12 people in this virtual experience, including me. So if you would like to sit together, contact me soon.

Other logistics

When will it be?
Tuesdays and Thursdays, May 10th – 26th from 6:15-6:30 am.

Do I have to “attend” each sit?
No, but it would be super cool if you did.

I work/sleep/do something else at that time, will you do it again?
Probably! Just know that I am (as are millions of others) sitting at that time. If you remember to feel your breath, you’ll be connected to it as well.

I don’t have a computer. Or I have a computer but I don’t have built-in video.
If you don’t have a computer, we will sit together in spirit.
If you have a computer with speakers, you’ll be able to see and hear me, but I won’t see or hear you.
If you have a microphone, we’ll hear each other.
And if you have video, we’ll see and hear each other.

How expensive, techy, and complicated will this be?
It’s free.
Techy? I figured it out. And that says a lot. I’ll send a link, you’ll click the link, and sign in as a guest — nothing to download or sign up for.
It really is that easy. I tested it with Bubby and he got it, easy peezy. (And I’m the technical mastermind in the family. Frightening, I know.)

I’ve never meditated. Will these be guided?
These will not be guided meditations.  There are some free guided meditations on this site with different techniques for focusing attention. The over-simplified way to approach it is: just sit with yourself, as you are, without pushing your thoughts or feelings away or getting completely wrapped up in them.

I don’t know you. Will that be weird?
Won’t be weird for me.

Have other questions?
Just ask.

Or just do it! It’s six mornings. A hour and a half out of your month. Little steps. We’ll take them together! Email me at michelle@itsallyoga.com.

my last cleanse of the year

This morning I made a list of all the things on my plate through the end of the year, both business related and personal. Most of the things were more on the “have to” side of things than the “want to.”

After making the list and considering the number of days remaining in the year, I realized that something has to go. The list itself cannot necessarily be pared down (unless I want to ditch one of the remaining weekends of Teacher Training or not decorate for Christmas, which is one of the few things on the “want to” side).

So, something else has to go. Something I usually do with my time.

Not Cowboy. No way, he wouldn’t have it. Plus, he just got a mani/pedi and is giddy to show it off.

And it’s not skimping on time with Miss Roxy. Her chemo appointments are going well (thanks for your sweet inquiries) and we’re enjoying extra treats and snuggles (on the bed, where she has never been allowed).

I must look to my two previous cleanses of the year for guidance.

First, I stopped talking about other people. It was for only two weeks, but there were many good lessons there.

Then in October I did a 28 day healthy eating cleanse. Cut out dairy, all bread and gluten, sugar, soy, and stimulants.

There were moments of grumpiness, highlighted emotional eating patterns and sweet tooth mania. All in all, a great exercise of commitment, creativity, and preparedness. Physically, I felt amazing. (So good that we’re offering it through the studio in January.)

The thread here as I see it is health, cutting out what can be toxic, and creating more space for what is nourishing.

In this vein, my last cleanse of the year will be….

Social Media.

This is not to say that social media is evil and toxic. However, I have stated here several times that my relationship with Facebook and Twitter often errs on the side of obsessive.

Stressing about being appropriately smart, funny and helpful on every tweet.

Checking more times a day than I care to admit to see if anyone is connecting with me of Facebook.

When this insecurity gets strong enough that I can’t ignore it, I know I need to go into myself rather than out, to find wholeness rather than validation.

This season has an innate quality of quietude and rest… yet it is perhaps our busiest season as a culture.

It may be the small things that keep me on track—sitting in the morning (btw, here’s a free meditation for you), consistent sleep hours, maintain those good habits from the cleanse.

Ironic that this is also a season of connection, and I do sense that I’m craving that. This will make it more necessary and rewarding to connect with live people—write cards, reach out by phone, have a cookie baking party.

Doesn’t that sound fun!? And spacious. And joyful.

So I probably won’t see you on Facebook or Twitter, but I’d love to connect with you in the comments, or over tea.

Or here! My new website has a landing page!! And it hints at what’s in store….. so excited and looking forward to sharing soon.

 

fly

This is our dog Jane.

With a fly on her nose.

Do you see it?

. . .

It’s right there.

. . .

THERE IT IS!!!

. . .

And now it’s on her cheek. And she doesn’t even care.

. . .

I wish I could be so focused and unfazed during morning meditation.

Today

Why are you unhappy?
Because 99.9 per cent
Of everything you think,
And of everything you do,
Is for yourself —
And there isn’t one.
Ask The Awakened, Wei Wu Wei

Meditation Rebellion

After my meditation weekend, surely my daily sit will be a snap. Consistent and blissful. I’ll rush to the cushion every morning and sit like a buddha for 30 minutes without moving.

This is perhaps just a slight exaggeration of how I felt at the end of my Silent Meditation Weekend. I mean, it was so amazing. I “got it” again—why sitting is so critical for my sanity and peace of heart. I am more clear and connected. More spacious.

Then why, whhyyyy is it that in the two weeks since my revelation weekend my meditation has been utter crap? I’m fidgety, tormented, daydreaming, and cutting it short.

It reminds me of my early 20’s relationships where after a time of increased vulnerability and intimacy, there would be a pulling back and withdrawing. Almost like the new level of closeness was too scary.

Maybe this is my meditation immaturity.

In struggling these last two weeks, only one thing has helped: giving my mind something to focus on, something to distract it. There are hundreds of techniques like this, this one just happens to work for me.

In that hope, I share it with you.

Let me know how it goes.

Body Meditation [click to play!]

Hard to say

So many things came up during my weekend retreat.

Many hard things. Many beautiful things.

Here are eight of them.

  1. I gauge my worth on how productive I am. How much I “get done.”
  2. The state of the mind is merciless and can go from utter and boundless joy to absolute rage in a heartbeat.
  3. The acknowledgment of both perfection and despair bring me to tears.
  4. The possibility of someone sitting “with” me made sitting so much easier.
  5. Insights that are so profound in the moment fade with time and later seem less astonishing, less impactful. I want to know how to keep the immediacy of the insight alive.
  6. Being “in the moment” is very anti-climactic. There’s no fanfare, no fireworks. It is brilliantly and perfectly ordinary.
  7. Making breakfast, lunch and dinner from scratch felt very extravagant. It was a beautiful thing to spend time creating nourishing food for myself.
  8. I don’t need more money to be happy. This was a powerful insight, as money (or lack of) is a big source of anxiety for me.

Not reading or writing was perhaps the most challenging part and left me with inadequate words to describe the weekend.

Maybe it goes beyond words. Maybe it never needed them anyway.


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 76 other followers

Topics

Tweets

Advertisements