If Yoga Were a Guy… (My Exercise Evolution cont’d)

 

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It’s been over a month.  I don’t know why, but I let stressful times keep me away when there are crises in my family and stress at work.  Then my shoulders get all these knots.  I really shouldn’t stay away.  Yet, coming back is a sweet homecoming.  The music and the essential oils beckon me and make me feel welcome.  Despite my tense body, I never feel guilt.  So I imagine yoga is this sweet guy with a Barry White voice, telling me, “Hey babe, the door’s always open.  So glad you’re here.  You’ll be glad you came back.”

Let me honest, I have no idea what he’d look like, except that he’d be fit and his hair would be out of his eyes.  He’d be wearing a light colored short-sleeved t-shirt, and yoga pants.  Okay, maybe not yoga pants, but those long, lightweight pants that yogis wear.  If yoga were a guy, he would:

*Not notice the few pounds I’ve  gained

*Not state the obvious, that my muscles would not be so tense if I just made sure to show up even during the taxing times, and I would not have gotten sick if I used the yoga to help me destress and stay healthy

*Play a lot of Dave Matthews, you know, for atmosphere.  That, and whatever else he seems to play that relaxes me so.

*Keep those candles lit and the lights dim.  Let’s not make it obvious how off-balance I am. Instead, he’d:

*Lend me a hand for balance when I need it.  Bring me an extra block without saying anything or pointing me out

*Let me linger a little while after savanas.  That’s right.  He wouldn’t kick me out, because he’d understand that I don’t just come here to whip my butt into shape, I come here to escape the outside.

*Invite me to come back in a few days or say something that makes me want to be more of a regular, not because I feel guilty, but because it feels SO good being here.

Truth be told, most of my instructors are female.  However, yoga is neither male nor female.  So I can imagine it any way I want.  What’s most important is that I keep going back.  🙂

While we’re using our imaginations here, I think it would be fitting if he gave me a half hour massage after each class.  I don’t live far from the studio, so I could just cruise home and drift into bed afterward.  What completes the fantasy better than a full night’s peaceful sleep?

Yoga, Stream of Consciousness, My Exercise Evolution, Pt 4

I like the pained look on this woman’s face in the photograph.  Not because the yoga hurt me, but because my stressed out body was not ready to let go of the stress and relax this time.  I want to be honest, and this photo totally represents my attitude tonight.  I didn’t feel too evolved, but in actuality, I guess I’ve evolved to be able to not push myself too far.

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I hate Triangle.  This is what I was thinking when the instructor told us to set up for our triangle pose.  Then, I immediately felt guilty for my negative thinking.  Sadly, I’ve fallen a little out of tune with my exercise routine, but perhaps for good reasons.  I obviously don’t have the attitude I had built myself up to, and I really need to work to get it back.

I am , however, going to give myself a free pass and just thank myself for showing up to the class tonight.  I knew it would help me, and it did, despite my almost losing my balance and falling once or twice, needing to modify my lunges.  So I modified.  I went easy on myself; it’s been a rough few weeks, with a hurricane passing through, a family friend dying, and the ex-husband in town for a few days.  My emotions have been pulled, and I had cause for anxiety with the ex-husband based on his last visit.  Now it’s all over.  The ex went back home, the funeral has happened, the hurricane dispelled.  Yet I am still at the bottom of the well.  I need to work on coming back up.  I was very mindful to remind myself of that all through class.

On a brighter note, here’s more on the topic of wandering minds during yoga: why do so many instructors use phrasing such as, isn’t that a yummy stretch?  That is mostly used by female instructors, I’ve noticed.  While I haven’t had that many male instructors, there is one most memorable instructor who would say, “Feel that stretch, isn’t that delicious?”  This was said in his beautiful Calypso or Caribbean accent.

“No,” I said, honestly.  It wasn’t delicious as his hand holding my leg steady was, or as his honey dripping accent, or as, let’s say, chocolate.  That’s the part I didn’t say. 🙂 He just chuckled when I said that and let up a little.  I wasn’t being mean, I half smiled when I said it so that he knew, it wasn’t him.  It was me.  I loved having him as an instructor.  But alas, he was just a sub that night, as he normally would teach the early morning class, one I could never make.  At least he wasn’t pushing us to empty our minds.  He must have known the delicious comment was pretty suggestive.  Hey, it made me think of chocolate, or his awesome accent, all things I find very relaxing.  Unfortunately, I no longer attend the studio where this man with the wonderful accent instructs; it is just part of life changes.  I had to choose somewhere closer and I do truly love the new studio I currently attend.

I am not complaining about the wording used by instructors; I love the yoga community.  But calling any of these stretches “yummy” just accentuates the fact that I am not at home eating the goods I am trying to stay away from.  If you are an instructor who wants us to empty our minds, please don’t use the word “yummy!”  I do have to add, though, it always makes my busy mind chuckle while I’m in a resting tree, downward dog, or even pigeon pose and I hear such comments.  Thank you, dear yoga instructor, for giving me that inward chuckle, for coming by with your relaxing scents, and for playing that wonderful music.  I really needed it tonight.

Stream of Yogic Consciousness, My Exercise Evolution, Pt 3

“Let yourself sink into the gap between your thoughts, they are like chains, linking, but with the small gaps in between,”  the young, calm yoga instructor suggests.  I can’t help it…my thoughts are more like flames chasing each other…You have to appreciate the metaphors, though, and I really love this instructor!  But sometimes, during yoga, a spark appears in my thoughts and it just takes flame, so I watch it, amused.  My worries gone, my thoughts unthreatening, sometimes they represent ideas, and I really should go with them.  They delight me.  I do not want to throw them back.  So, I just pretend I am counting to ten as suggested, and ridding myself of thoughts, all the while, chuckling inwardly at how I am fooling them all.  🙂

I decided quite a while ago to embrace my thoughts, after worthless attempts to empty them.  Sure, I’ve tried.  I read a “Buddha Bliss” book on meditation that suggested visualizing each thought as a fish that just landed in my hands, and letting it go into the pond of …. pond of, relaxation, I guess?  It did help since I was going through a tough emotional time.   In several ways, though, I have become more able to box up disturbing thoughts and realize when it is time to just let go, to just accept that, hey, it is what it is!  Obviously, sitting in yoga class, I can’t get my son a job or get my bills paid, can’t do anything about my ex-husband and his mess or the things in my life that I want to happen.  Might as well let that all go, and I do.  Those thoughts become replaced by higher-level thoughts, more blissful thoughts.  Well, they are to me, anyhow.  Here is an example from a year ago:

*The instructor tells us to count back from ten when a thought pops into the mind and let it go.  IF another one comes, count backward from ten again.  So, I try.  Then, I notice how my yoga towel is the color of sand, and that being on it is like being at the beach, no, it’s like being on Mars!  Isn’t Mars sandy?  If not, it at least has a lot of that sandy color.  I almost chuckle at myself and start the countdown again.  Then I think about a rocket launch countdown, and while we’re on that topic, let’s circle back to Mars!  Matt Damon is going to Mars in the upcoming movie, The Martian.  Oh, I have to see that movie!  I love Matt Damon, he is awesome!  Thinking of which, I loaded that book on my Kindle, I ought to get around to reading it before the movie.  So, this yoga towel is a flat landscape of Mars.  Then I start thinking of the movie, Interstellar.  They are along similar lines, but not the same.  Each unique in its own right.  I am so excited to read The Martian and see the movie.  Then I start thinking of Matt Damon and his movie, Elysium, and the message he was trying to convey.  Back to a plank, and I see the flat, sandy landscape.  Yes, I realize Mars is probably more rocky than that, and I may be quite wrong about the landscape.  Doesn’t bother me.  But I make a note to self to read more about space and the other planets.  Good plan, I tell myself, almost chuckling again as the instructor does another count back from ten.  It’s all good!  I am such a rebel.

So, here I am, being me,enjoying the heck out of my yoga practice and the thoughts it is inspiring.  I’ve gotta be me, right?  And that, my friends, is healthy thinking, brought to you by the benefits of yoga.  Shhh…Don’t tell anyone.  They might find my rebellion disrespectful.  😉

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Staying True to Me, My Exercise Evolution, Pt. 2

YogaBabt4thI am sharing an experience from about a year ago.  It is my intent that I will share a few experiences that inspired me to write, whether a Facebook post or diary entry, and to catch up to more current yoga streams of consciousness.  This one was a turning point for me, because no matter what exercise you choose, you have to realize that you are not like everyone else and embrace that fact, instead of feeling ashamed.  Due to physical arthritis or stress-related issues, Yoga has lately been my exercise of choice, with occasional pilates and barre classes to push myself. Yet my spirit so often begs for yoga.  Think about it; yoga is a relaxing exercise that helps center the mind, but it quickly loses that factor when you are pushing yourself to be something you’re not, or comparing yourself to others in the room who may be a little more, well, limber.  Best is the instructor who reminds you to go at your own pace, modify if needed, stop comparing yourself to others, and yes, “Hang out in child’s pose” if you feel the need!

*I had a yoga win last night! I was not going to let that gal force me into a frog. I’ve been forced into one before and, well, Pam is not a frog. This was probably 9 years ago at a gym that has long since closed.  I recall being amazed that I could actually get into a frog, only, guess what?  I didn’t get into a frog; I was forced into the frog!  Getting out of it was pretty awkward.  I wasn’t having that this time.  I muttered, “No. I have trouble with….” You could fill in the blank, this week. She heard knee, and moved on to someone else. So I did my own pose without pins and needles of pain, because yoga is for relaxation, not pain. I also did not turn my mind off (such a rebel)! There are great things going on; thank God! My mind is working for me right now and I will let it, since I’ve actually been able to write lately. This yoga/exercise state of mind and leading me to healthy thoughts; my mind is not shut off, but I’m not worrying!  Therefore, this must be a good thing.  It was awesome this time to practice something that did relax my body and mind, and still, through it all, I remained true to me.   Sorry if ya’ll expected me to say I’d figured out the headstand…..*

 

 

 

 

Blissful Saturday Yoga Surprise! #haiku #NAPOWRIMO

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11:30 Saturday Yoga Escape Brings a Blissful, Sentimental Surprise Today.  My Haiku:

She is playing Prince!

Purple Rain drives my down dog,

and goosebumps ensue.

-Pamela Schloesser Canepa

#PrinceGoneTooSoon  #musicofmyyouth