Mindfulness

     I went to yoga first thing this morning and attended a class that focused on breathing and meditation, Raja Yoga. I haven’t been to this class in awhile because I’m focusing on getting a more aerobic workout. But today I was reminded how important it is to vary my classes and focus on all the important aspects of yoga.

     “Slow down and breathe”, he instructed. “Take time to mindfully do each step and not rush through the motions” That is very hard for me. Slowing down means something doesn’t get done. It means I fall behind on my schedlue. The key word here is “my”. No one else seems to care if that basket of clothes gets folded and put away except me. Or if the dryer is still full from the last load done on Monday. “Slow down, breathe in and out, let the fresh air wash over your soul.”

     I lunched with two friends and found myself at one point checking the time, remembering the things I still had to do. I could hear my instructor’s voice, “Be mindful, be present in the moment.” Yes, it is just as important off the mat as it is on. I put my phone away and started relishing the conversation, knowing that this was where I was suppossed to be right then. No where else in mind or body.

     

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Practice Makes Better (not perfect)

     I’m learning, a little each day, but I’m learning. I made it to the Core Power yoga class today that I bailed out on yesterday. And it busted my butt! Oh my, was I tired at the end of that hour and sweating like a pig. I know the more times I attend, the better I’ll get at moving that quickly between the postures, but today all I really wanted to do was retreat into Child’s Pose. 

     I also have struggles at the Bible Study I attend weekly. I try to keep up with the reading each day and look up the Bible verses. I dutifully make  make notes in my book and underline sentences that stand out. But when it comes to living what it’s prescribing, I tend to struggle. I struggle to remember as often as I should to be thankful to God for the wonders he has blessed me with. I also struggle to share with the group my testimony or even my doubts. But I do listen to the stories of others and relish their deep faith. Just like in yoga class, I want to learn and grow and I look to the leaders in the class for guidance.

     And just like at the end of yoga class, even if I’m dripping sweat and exhausted, I always feel blessed when I leave Bible Study. I know I have a lot to learn and get better at, but there are some amazing, strong women to emulate. Although practice won’t make me perfect, it will make me better in both avenues of my life.

One Step at a Time…

     I’ve been in my yoga pants all day. I had worked out the schedule and knew which class I wanted to go to after I got everything else done. But after cleaning all morning and most of the afternoon, I’m too tired. I just want a nap. Isn’t that part of a good yoga practice, savasana?

     What a good name, corpse pose. That’s what I want to do right now, lay down like a corpse and sleep. I don’t know why I’m so overwhelming tired. I’ve had a very productive day, but it’s 6:30pm and I can barely keep my eyes open. I had planned to go to Core Yoga, which is a good solid workout. I think my body tricked me and is trying to get out of working any more today. That’s okay, now my mind will get it’s turn.

     I’ve got a list a mile long of things I’m working on. I’m doing an online course through Harvard that’s closing up next week and I’m about 5 weeks behind. Good thing it’s free and not for credit. But still I want to finish it. I’m doing 3 Bible Studies this month. Why didn’t I stick to just one like I usually do? I’m off for the summer so I thought I’d take advantage of the extra time I will have. I should have stuck to one so I could have been more committed to it, rather than feeling like I’m always behind. Then I told my students I would do the online coding class they were working on. It’s fun, but it’s another hour on the computer. That’s just the online stuff!

     Yes, I’m complaining again. Another day or too and I’ll get it out of my system.

     This is the summer of regrouping and refocusing on the things that are important. Just like in yoga class, you can’t work on everything all at once. You need to take it one step at a time. First breath, then focus on the feet, then the legs and arms, and so forth. Step by step the body lines up and the pose takes shape, a little shaky at first, but then it becomes solid, planted into the space.

     I am working with a yoga teacher now on a ten week course where she is teaching me the daily habits of Ayurveda (yoga’s sister science). We are going week by week through the components of a healthier body. We are currently talking about an earlier and lighter evening meal between 5:00-6:00pm. Sounds easy enough, but next week’s topic of going to bed earlier will be tricky. The world doesn’t shut down at 10:00pm, why should I? 

     So now that I’m finished with my blog I think I’ll perfect my savasana.

The Grass is Always Greener…

The Grass is Always Greener...

Envy seems to be an issue with me lately. Now I’m looking at my neighbors’ yards, wondering why my grass isn’t as thick, why I got the rock garden lot and when will my flowers bloom like theirs. Poor me!

Having a yard is a lot of work. Like perfecting a yoga pose, it doesn’t happen in one day. For a new yard it takes months to stablize and start looking established. I can spend a whole morning just pulling weeds, another picking up rocks, and still another mowing. And that doesn’t include the flower beds.

I have hauled mulch in the back of my P.T. Crusier for two weekends to cover up the bare dirt. Why do builders make these beds so big? I didn’t ask for that, but that’s the way it came. It will cost more than a few Margaritas to fill up the space!

I’m so glad I have time this summer to work on the yard. Despite my complaining there is a level of satisfaction that comes when I chunk the weeds, rocks, and tree trimmings in the trash (some day I’ll composte). After working for 2 hours, I stopped to lunch on the patio. The breeze was so nice for June in Texas. I actually love sitting out watching the clouds float by and the tree branches gently sway as the birds chirp to one another.

My grass is greener than it was a few weeks ago and I’ll be working it so that my envy melts away, just like stress in a yoga class.

Keep It In Perspective…

Today was Father’s Day and I dutifully made the two hour trip to visit mine. I brought a ready-to-eat lunch and enjoyed the time with both my parents. But when did they get so old?

Fare enough, my mom has had an operation recently and luckily is recovering nicely. But both her and my dad  were in “old mode” today. I heard the same stories that I heard last weekend. My dad talked about how hard his yard chores are, which I’ve never heard him do. He has always been the I-can-do-it kind of guy. When I was outside shoveling mulch into boxes, he was inside doing the dishes. I don’t blame him really. It was hot and humid outside and it was Father’s Day. He shouldn’t have even been doing the dishes!

Driving home tonight I was thinking about my previous blog where I envied the younger ladies in my yoga class. One day I’m wishing I was younger and the next I’m grateful I’m not as old as I thought. Perspective helps, doesn’t it?

I’ve been thinking about the whole life cycle, how we go from babies to toddlers, then teens and young adults, eventually becoming full-fledged adults with mortgages and families. Maybe because we stay in this stage so long, we forget that one day we too will be among the aged, creeping much closer to death and birth.

I’m really not a morbid kind of person. It’s a natural thing that we will all do. I don’t expect to die anytime soon, but I know I will and at this point in my life I can honestly say I am content with what I’ve accomplished in various areas of my life. Of course, there’s always room for improvement and I hope to have many more years to continue to work on my short-comings. 

Of course, while I’m thinking about how old they are, my mom is trying to get me to wear gloves and not forget the bug spray. I’ll always be her baby, which is not such a bad thing.Image

Back in the Saddle Again!

Yep, went to yoga today and I’m blogging, life’s good! 

The truth is, I intended to go to the 8:00am outdoor class. I love practicing yoga outside. The breeze on my face and the sounds of the birds totally changes the experience for me. But I decided when I went to bed at 1:00am the night before that wouldn’t work. So then it was the 9:45 am class. I usually attend this one. Great instuctor and great time, not too early or late. When I woke up at 9:35am however, I decided that wouldnt’ work either. Luckly there was an 11:00am one and I got there early!

I’m not usually too self concious in class. There are a variety of people, various ages and sizes. We even have guys attending now. But today there were only four of us and I started thinking about the age difference between myself and the barely 20-somethings I was in class with. Even the instructor is barely as old I was I was when I got my first college degree in the 1980’s. So this must be what it feels like to start being age concious. 

Not only was I older, but my body didn’t match theirs. It has been many years and two babies since my stomach was that flat and my legs that thin. I quickly shifted my mental gears though, because I remembered how much my body has been through in my almost 53 years. There has been a lot of wear and tear. From skiing to snowboarding to white water rafting and hot air ballooning. Attempts at the flying trapeze and Jazzersize. Swimming and biking. Horseback riding, hiking and chasing children. I’ve used my body everyday in one way or another. By the time by birthday rolls around in September, I will have been moving and abusing my body for 19,345 days. So it’s naturally not going to look anything like a yonger body with less experience. And I am happy for my experiences.

And yes, now I’m writing about my class experience. I did sit down to the computer at 3:00 pm for that exact purpose and it’s now 4:35 pm and I’m finally cranking something out. But at least I am. One step at a time. I’m proud of myself, just like I am for keeping up with the 20-somethings. Or at least trying to!

What happened?

I had such determination. How did I let myself get off track? The goal was to blog everyday in June, not just the first 6 days. It isn’t like I haven’t had anything to write about since last Friday.  I’ve thought about writing, thought about how I should be writing, what I could be writing about. But I haven’t been writing.

I can come up with lots of excuses. School was finally officially over and I deserved time to chill. I’ve been traveling on the weekends to visit my sick mother (true). Summer job started Monday (but was only half a day). I’ve been out five nights of the last seven (and loved every minute of it). 

But yet I still found time to exercise most days. I got the yard mowed, the laundry done and made it to the grocery store finally. Why wasn’t I making time to write?

Writing isn’t the only area where I’ve fallen off the path this week. I’m behind in my Bible Study. I haven’t finished the Forgiveness Challenge which was also a 30 day activity. I got up to Day 21 and stopped. Did it get hard or did I just grow tired of it? I’m weeks behind in the online Immunity to Change course I’m taking. So now it’s public knowledge, I’m not perfect! I don’t meet all my goals on time.

The truth is that I probably take on too much at one time. I also enjoy life too much and don’t miss an opportunity to Sharpen My Saw. It’s not that I shirk my paid work responsibilities. I just don’t always hold myself accountable for the things I say are important outside of my work. Because it’s just me I’m letting down, I act like it’s okay to let it slide. 

I know it really isn’t. So that’s why I am happy to have the summer off from teaching to regroup and restructure my life. I love going to yoga class because I do truly feel like a better person when I leave. My body and mind both feel renewed, refreshed, ready to take on the world. It’s the same thing after a break from school. We all come back excited to start again, try new things and work with a fresh set of students.

So I am rededicating myself to pursuing all my life goals regularily. I will also think twice before I commit to something else. While I want to work on several areas, I still want to nap when I want to and sneak off to the movies as much as possible!