Wednesday Yoga- Priorities

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Sometimes blame feels better than starting the healing process. Yesterday, I banged my shin while I was straightening up my bedroom. I have a large bin that is full pf shoes that I no longer wear but nostalgia allows them to take up space. I really should confront getting rid of them in the name of clearing space and all that. Alas, it’s a struggle to be evolved every day of the week. I mean c’mon, give a girl a break.

Anyway, while vacuuming I saw the edge of the bin sticking out from under my bed. Annoyed (because I hadn’t dealt with the useless shoe issue) I shoved the bin with my foot. My shin slammed into the bed. Hard. I could fit my index finger in the dent. After cursing for two minutes I looked at the bed as if it were guilty of the crime. Then I turned my attention to those god damned shoes. Stupid shoes….

I should have gotten some ice. I did, it took longer than I can to admit here- but I think my point is made:

  1. Whether you chose to deal with something/someone or not you pay. My bad.
  2. My bike life has made my legs strong. Sweet.

Pay attention to what is really important.

Namaste y’all

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Adventures in Meditation – Ch-ch-ch-changes

keep calm and turn off your cell

 

I may not always love you
But long as there are stars above you
You never need to doubt it
I’ll make you so sure about it

God only knows what I’d be without you

If you should ever leave me
Though life would still go on believe me
The world could show nothing to me
So what good would living do me

– The Beach Boys

I’m a bit to attached to my phone. Don’t get me wrong.

It’s a necessary lifeline. It’s my calendar, my lists, heck- I’m writing this post from my phone right now.

At night I use a white noise app that lulls me to sleep. My alarm gets me up and Insight Timer gongs me back to reality from my meditation practice.

Even my apartment building is in on the act- when someone buzzes my apartment it comes to my phone.

However, my addictive self started to rear her tempting head. It was as if I couldn’t do anything without it.

Thankfully, my meditation practice has begin to spill over into my life.

These days I’m walking the dog without my phone. Why shouldn’t there be a time when I am just walking with intention without have to be available to a text, phone call, email, tweet or status update.

It’s not a big deal but it is a change, a change that has happened because I am more mindful.

Progress is measured in inches not feet.

At least that’s what I tell myself.

Namaste y’all.

 

Rev Jim – Taxi Yoga

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I’ve been without my TV for over a week now.

I need to get it set up.

But in the meantime- I’ve been watching DVDs, listening to lots more music and enjoying the silence.

The old fogey in me loves to pull out shows from my youth. Lately, I’ve been into Taxi.

Taxi was an amazing show. From the theme song to the groundbreaking story lines- it was great TV.

Jim Ignatowski, or Rev Jim was my favorite character. He always seemed to be in a constant state of flux. He was the wisdom of the show- wrapped in a cloak of addiction, confusion and forgetfulness.

And of course I think of yoga.

Reverend Jim: I saw you standing in a Manhatten sunset / Your auburn hair blowing from Atlantic winds. / Your eyes were smiling at thoughts far away, / Dancing to sonnets only you could hear. // If I could, I would build you a castle / In a world from some other time. / A castle I can only imagine/A castle only you could inspire.

Rewrite Your Story

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Have you ever told yourself a story about yourself that wasn’t true? I was chubby as a kid in a family of striking beauty. I’m talking Gorgeous. I often felt like the tubby other. It probably didn’t help that I was one of two Black kids in my neighborhood during elementary school. Oh, and I had an African name. I felt like an alien on most days. On others, I felt even stranger.

It doesn’t really matter what others thought and that I lost weight etc, etc. Our inner voice is more powerful than the external chatter. I told myself a different story. I looked in the mirror and saw a woman I loved looking back.

And we all have better days than others. I just started running again.  I still have my yoga practice which is my life. But I think I had told myself that I was a runner in my 30’s and I can’t run now that I’m 40 (41ish). That’s kinda crap. One might even call that an excuse.  I hate excuses. And I’m not someone that likes to be told that I can’t do something, especially when I’m the silly person saying it. Sheesh.

I can run and have my practice. So, I’m writing a new story. I’m a yogini who runs. I like that story better.

This is yoga. And I can write whatever ending I choose. That’s pretty dope.

Namaste y’all.

It’s Gettin’ Hot in Here….

sweaty back

I remember my first hot yoga class the way that someone who is an ex-smoker remembers their first cigarette. Since I am also the latter I know of what I speak.

My local studio offers both heated and non-heated classes. The teachers are really solid (and I don’t just say that because I now teach there- which is just SO cool to type) and the place has a great vibe. It’s intimate, friendly and the heated  classes get nice and hot. A few years ago I took my first hot class.

Sure I’d done yoga before- but a hot class seemed like an extra juicy piece of fun.

Here’s what happened:

  • It was hot
  • I was sweating through my skin.
  • I was sweating from the palms of my hand
  • I was sweating from my eyebrows
  • I was sweating behind my ears.
  • I was annoyed about having to stay still in between poses
  • I was annoyed that I was told when I could drink water- I mean it’s my freaking water…
  • I was sweating so much that I didn’t know I could sweat this much.
  • I was aggravated and tired

And then two hours later- I was reborn.

I couldn’t wait to do it again. Those of you who have been bitten by the heat bug are pickin’ up what I’m puttin down.

So I kept going back. The classes I took were Bikram inspired classes. Sure the poses were challenging, but I fell in love with the heat.

The ‘feel so hot’ you see stars kind of heat.

Yeah sure, I know it’s not okay. But the feeling you get working out in heat is better than…is better that anything I can conjure.

It’s like you are wringing out your body. Squeezing those toxins and leaving them on your towel. A few hours later- a high sets in.

You can take on the world. Seriously.

I had to know- could a studio get even hotter?

I trekked into the city and took a Yoga to the People class. Word on the street was that these classes got hot- like Africa hot. I was down baby. Down and ready.

I put down my mat in the back- I broke into a sweat just laying the mat down.

Holy Savanasa Batman!

I thought I was going to die. This was the middle of hell during a heat wave kind of hot.

Soaked through my clothes within the 10 minutes. I glanced at the thermostat- it read 110.

I. Was. Home.

I was sure my butt was cooking from the inside out. After class, people would  slice pieces of Oneika rump roast.

My towel was so soaked, I had to wring it out.

Sweat was flinging off bodies as we moved from pose to pose. It would be gross if I wasn’t flinging sweat on the chick next to me but she was so sweaty and focused on herself in the mirror she didn’t notice.

Did I mention that 70 people are in the class? Yeah- so there’s also body heat. I hung out in the back row and observed the scantily clad people and couldn’t wait until I felt that bad and bold. Could. Not. Wait.

English: Bikram Yoga
English: Bikram Yoga (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not here to talk about Bikram or the classes- that’s another post.  (We can get into about Bikram and his attitude, yada yada. But yoga is about non-judgement, so keep an open mind. S’all I’m sayin’)

I have my own problems with some of the poses and the dialogue. I don’t think yoga should hurt. Bikram yoga plays to Type A people who have feelings of insecuirty and superiority.

Which makes them unbearable people to be sure- but for 90 minutes they are broken down into a puddle of mush crying for their mommies promising to be good boy/girl. Which is funny as hell.

Not that I know anyone like that….

If you haven’t read Hellbent, pick it up- it’s a great read for non-yoga and yoga junkies alike. It is a memoir about one’s man’s journey down the ‘Bikram rabbit-hole’.

Though it’s supposed to read like a cautionary tale- heat addicts be warned. It only makes you want to drop the book- pack your bag, energy powder, frozen water bottle, two towels and a change of clothes. I am twitching writing this- giddy with the excitement that happens when you walk into the hot and slightly smelly room and place down your mat. You look at the mirror. Sit cross-legged and smile.

Bring. It. On.

This is yoga. And sometimes it’s gotta be really hot.

Namaste y’all.

Waitin’ in Vain… Bob Marley Yoga

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Bob Marley‘s birthday was yesterday.

I don’t have Bob on playlists for classes I teach.

Can’t do yoga and listen to Bob.

I do, obviously. Hear a Bob Marley song while doing an asana practice, I mean. Never responsible though, for perpetrating the crime.

Inevitably, you’re in Warrior I pelvis squared off, back foot planted and Jammin’ comes on. I cannot help but screw up my lips, let my head do a blunted bop as my hips drop in time with the beat…

I won’t judge you if you don’t do this.

Who are we kidding? I will, but won’t say anything about it because we are cyberspace friends…Just don’t let me catch you in class dissin’ Bob.

Even then, I probably wouldn’t judge you out in the open, mostly because it’s politically incorrect and bad form. But because I can’t believe you’re not jamming to Bob Marley, I will assume that there is something deeply, deeply, deeply wrong with you. I’m guessing most people would.

There are people who love Bob Marley.

And there is everyone else.

*rant over*

*drops mic*

Do you remember your first Bob Marley song?

Oh- I do.

I remember it better than that other yada yada….

14 and searching baby. Searching for my place in a new neighborhood. Searching for my place as a budding teenager.

God, I was awkward as hell and full of more emotions than I can describe.

It was weird being me.

Guess every teenager feels like that. I was alone (like every teenager).

Until I was introduced to Bob Marley’s Legend.

I could groove to Bob Marley and not have my parents freak out. I liked hip-hop but ‘talking street’ in the Mays’ household was frowned upon. It makes me laugh thinking about it. I was not what you would call a tough kid, my love of Tears for Fears, UB40 and General Public notwithstanding.

But it was okay to listen to Bob. He was after all, political. And being political was always okay in the Mays’ household.

And Regggae music was mellow (we will not discuss the herbal refreshments….thank you Bob…)

You do not forget your first Bob Marley song.

Not if you’re legit. That first song moves you. Stays with you like a tattoo.

It makes you feel.

Feel like a grown-up stirring feelings of love. Stirring feelings of injustice.

It makes you remember. Remember a struggle that you are too young to know, but  old enough to know you fight.

It makes you wish. Wish for a life that is like Marley’s. One full of struggle. Full of chances to change the world by singing a line…

Redemption songs…these songs of freedom

Waiting in Vain was my first. Wow. It still makes me sigh…Probably because I was in love with some boy that I can’t remember. But I remember the feelings of longing and the one-two rhythm of reggae music that made me sway in ways that I didn’t understand and made my heart thump in time with the lyrics…

Tears in my eyes burn…

Tears in my eyes burn,

While I’m waiting, while I’m waiting for my turn

Is there anything more romantic than your first musical crush?

It shapes you. Waiting in Vain may have been my first Bob song, but I was also forever changed by buffalo soldiers, redemption songs, choruses about Kaya and misty mornings…
I jammed until the jam was through. Natty was my ride or die dude.

I liked bootlegs of bootlegs and since this was before the days on mp3s, those of you in the know, know of what I speak. No

3 o’clock roadblock was keeping from rebel music and pimps paradises. I was sussed out but not in doubt of what his lyrics did. They impacted generations and made me want to fight.

Bob stretched my brain and preconceived notions of the world.

Made me want to dance for change. I didn’t know that fighting the power could be done with a stereo and liner notes. Not in some silly girlie girl way but in some Buffalo Springfield kind of way. For what’s it’s worth.

I was committed. For real. In a way that a girl who loves a movement is committed. The way that a girl who discovers that her crush fought for people before she was born was committed.

He was my original guru. Man, now that I think about it. Bob had me practicing yoga waaaaaaay before I found a mat.

He makes me feel alright, like a sweepstakes winner.

This is yoga. And it’s like winning the lottery. Thanks Bob for satisfying my soul.

Namaste y’all.

Gettin’ Your Flow On at Home….

home yoga studio
How dreamy is is this space? Ooh la la…

Like lots of people, I first tried yoga in the comfort of my own living room.

My first yoga experience was around 12 years ago with Rodney Yee (I know, who wouldn’t get hooked on yoga?). I loved his style and the DVDs (or I should say VHS tapes) were pretty challenging. Then I discovered Inhale with Steve Ross, also pretty awesome.

I liked the privacy practicing at home provided, but I didn’t feel like I was moving as fluidly as the folks on TV. Studios though, seemed intimidating.

I had the notion that one must be good at yoga before gracing the doorway of a studio. Visions of people twisted like pretzels and incense floated in front of  my third eye. Because I thought myself to be inferior, surely I would be chanted out of the studio my mat and water bottle slung over my shoulder like a hobo pack, kicking rocks, head hung low while the Charlie Brown theme song taunted me all the way home.

I know, I have a flair for the dramatic. But people the world over feel this way, I’m sure of it.

It’s similar to the line of thinking that before one gets a personal trainer, one must get in shape. But I’ll save the talk about my ego for another day. I want to try and keep this post at a reasonable length.

With teacher training under my belt and a pretty solid practice, I’m looking to develop my home flow. I don’t feel quite ‘aware’ enough yet to do my own class and feel like I worked my body out (I’m sure it’s in my head).

But I also don’t feel like a DVD is what I need.

Enter Yogaglo. It’s a website that lets you stream classes from a player or your Mac.

Perfect!

It takes the idea of home practice to a new level. You feel as if you are in the class. For someone who has a solid practice and wants to pick up a few extra classes here and there, it’s a great addition. I don’t know if I suggest learning yoga this way…

Taking classes and getting adjustments is too important. Not to mention the community aspect of yoga which changed my life.

This is what the yogaglo classes look like. It's really as if you are in a class. Super cool.
This is what the yogaglo classes look like. It’s really as if you are in a class. Super cool.

But, this certainly fills a void. And from the comfort of home. With space heaters pointed at me, I was sweaty and happy. I picked a class that focused on hip openers because I’d been feeling a little stifled and needed to open up, or more accurately restore some balance to my 1st chakra. Seane Corn’s hip opener class was just what the guru ordered.

After a 90 minute class I was whooped and feeling so much better.
This is yoga. In my living room. And I love it.