Slow it Down

As one who is an avid Power yogi, using it for as much of the strength training as mental training, lately I've been taking Restore classes. I have also found that my personal practices are geared more towards restorative properties than power poses. At first it was because I'd always be too sore from biking or climbing to take a core class, then I'd be too stressed out, and now it's just because that's all I want.

It is important to listen to the body and respect what it wants to do, verses what we think we should be doing. Typically whenever we think we should be doing something, it's never the right thing. Attempting to be more intuitive with myself I've found when I force myself into a power class when my body (and usually mind) are tired, my practice is very pieced together. I find myself unable to clear my mind even at the end of a 90min class lying in svasana.

It is the times when I am respecting my body and going to that restore class, that I find the calm clarity throughout practice, and even bliss in svasana. Slowing your practice down and holding poses can be mentally challenging for most, but when your body craves it you'll see the ability to find peace is easy. Next time you find yourself dragging to that power class think about slowing it down and trying the restore class instead.


Sunrises are Transformational

The other night I decided, at 11pm that I was going to drive out to the Bonnevile Salt Flats to 'get away from it all'. A friend and I packed the car and Hobbes happily hopped into the back. A quiet two hour drive later we arrived on the Salt Flats. The moon was so bright there was no need for lamps and we spent the next hour running around the amazing nothingnes.

When it was time to sleep the moon was so bright it almost made it difficult to fall asleep. After only an hour of sleeping the moon had set and I woke up to the vast sky of beautifully sparkling stars. As someone who absolutely misses seeing stars this sight literally took my breath away and almost moved me to tears. Drifting in and out of consciousness I tried to absorb as much of this experience as I could.

Shortly there after I hear "Tina you need to see this". I open my eyes to another beautiful sight, the vibrantly rainbowed skyline spanning as far as the eye can see. The sun was still 40 minutes from cresting the horizon, but damn if it doesn't make an amazing preshow production. I had planned on setting up my tripod and documenting this, but instead I just laid there in awe of the vast beauty I was witnessing. As the next 40 minutes or so flowed by I lay there marveling at how transforming a sunrise can be. There is just something about welcoming the day with such beauty, it's spiritually cleansing.

With that I say get up and watch a sunrise.

Time Passes Quickly

Life always seems to get in the way of living....think about that for a minute.

OK so I haven't written in a while because, like most I tend to get caught up in the little things. The changes that had been an undercurrent of my spring grew into a tidal wave this summer, crashing and dispersing any sense of stability that I was foolishly grasping on to. The finer things in life, like yoga were unfortunately lost in the storm. I am not teaching yoga, I am at a job that I enjoy, but it's not teaching yoga. I have been caught up in my life, aka trying to get through each day, verses living life. How can you lose yoga in such an unstable part of your life? Well sadly it's way too easy to do so. I knew I needed to practice, and that I should be practicing more so because of my situation, but the heaviness of self inflicted negative emotions kept me in bed many mornings. Finding opportunites to teach (and put myself out there for potential failure again) proved much more challenging than I ever expected.

Time passes quickly and before you know it its been months of this same old, same old. The beautiful thing is all you need to do it stand up and say I'm not going to go to that class tomorrow, I am going to do it today. A little bit of self tough love is just what will get you back on track and next thing you know its been another month, but this time you've been proactive in living your life.

With every valley there is a mountain to climb, and it is not the destination but the journey in which we'll learn. Thank you for sticking with my through these tough times.

Finding the Blank Spaces

(a long lost post from May, but an important one to post I think)
There's something about being alone that makes you more in touch with everything. I've recently spent some time in the desert hiking with my dog Hobbes. Now he isn't much of a talker, but that doesn't stop me from talking to him, and sometimes creating responses for him. More often then I should admit..and I mean full conversations...but I digress. We camped by the Colorado river and spent hours lounging around watching the afternoon flow by. We watched as the sun became lower in the sky, the long rays enhancing the red glow of the rocks to the east. We were lulled into peace by the ebb and flow of the river. Time was not an issue, and that was a wonderful thing.

Sitting by the river I meditated for a while. Like many I struggle with meditation. I have a difficult time quieting my mind, and I easily become restless, even anxious if/when my hips are tight. Using my mala beads, I am able to quiet my mind simply by focusing on one breath per bead. Meditation is something that I know needs to be a part of my practice, but it's always overlooked. A book that I recently read, The Witch of Portobello, by Paulo Coelho put it all in perspective for me. The main character, Athena was always busy doing and trying new things. Always filling her days with constant activities. Her calligraphy teacher told her in order to flow from one word to another she needs create and understand the blank spaces between them. And in order to do that on paper she needed to do that in her life. Athena knew that she kept herself busy because she was afraid of the quiet times, or blank spaces.

Now I am not sure if I would go as far to say that I am afraid of my blank spaces, but I tend to over schedule my life in general. Which gives little time for exploration of those blank spaces. Meditation is almost like living in those blank spaces. Are you able to quiet your mind and be present in the nothingness that comes in the blank spaces of your life?

Try quieting your mind, and be present for a blank space or two. A great way to work on this is with breath. Focus on every single breath. Inhale fully and completely then hold your breath at the top, take a few seconds before exhaling, then exhale fully and completely and hold your breath at the bottom. See how difficult this little exercise can be, but be mindful of how the blank spaces make you feel.