It’s the half way point in my 108 days of yoga. I have been a dedicated yogi for 16 years but this is the first time I ever decided to commit to it for 108 days in a somewhat continuos time period. Why? For the past 19 years I have been a very busy parent of 4 children and in raising them I have also had to have more than one job, and be available to my family in the down times from work. Six years ago I decided to combine my yoga practice and my work and I was invited to teach the children’s classes in the studio where I regularly practice. Along the way I started down the path of getting certified as a yoga instructor which meant getting another job (3) since the yoga income was now going back into the training. Ugh! To my misfortune, the style of yoga I committed to began to unthread as a major scandal played out. Rather than distancing myself from yoga I decided to use a one year sabbatical that my family had already planned (yes, I was saving every spare peso we had for that too) to really become centered in what yoga looks like to me so that I can go home again and be honest about committing to a style that is based in truth and grace. So this is what I have determined for me at the 1/2 way point. Within the next year I will sign up and begin again a training that is in the style of Inclusion without a dictated name. It is a training that will still gain me a RYT title but does not bind me to a particular path. I like this very much and since those I prefer to teach are 12 years old or younger I think it will be better to let “What Will Be”, be explored and determined by each child that shows up to my class. I am grateful to have some grounding and a vision at the half way point of this immersion and am excited to see “What Will Be” my continued path of yoga exploration and education.
I took the above photo at the public boat slips in the Getxo Marina (Pais Vasco, Spain). These 3 fish are so symbolic of my time to regroup in murky waters and to be guided again in new found faith and trust.
My asana practice today was self guided.
This day ends a year abroad for the first of my immediate family. Our daughter is returning home to the US after completing a year in Europe as a prospective student. It takes a tremendous amount of courage for a young adult to step out of their comfortable place in the nest of a family and face the road ahead somewhat alone. Our daughter entered in to a program she knew little about and had to summon up a ton of strength, balance, effort and courage to face the unknown. In not having a big safety net of support she had to evaluate whether this year would determine whether she could commit or even enjoy a college experience that would lead to a demanding lifestyle and career path. She is a winner for seeing it through, giving herself the time to really think about it and even in her choice to determine that in fact, that was not where she wanted to be. She can not see how she has made this year a success yet by it’s my hope that when she is further down her path, or even advising a friend or child of her own, that this year will be a marked memory of learning, growing and succeeding.
As we send her back and remain in our own location fro the next 4 weeks I am determined to grow my own strength of courage and tackle some of the asanas of yoga I falsely fear.
Today’s asana practice was this video by Tiffany Cruikshank on YogaGlo, a strenuous vinyasa flow titled “Be Courageous” http://www.yogaglo.com/video_2939_l.html.
The photo above is by me taken out our front window of a sweet little bird on a roof top in Getxo, Spain. She is alone, yet part of a group that has already taken flight.
Today’s asana practice by Darren Rhodes on YogaGlo.com entitled “Steadiness & Perspective” (http://www.yogaglo.com/online-class-1949-Steadiness–Perspective.html,) combined with an incredible morning of kayaking down the ocean channels of Plentzia, Spain has made me more aware of greeting the unknown with an open mind. Both things required the strength of even and full breath work. Both things required a steadiness of mind so as not to get caught up in expectations or thrown off balance because of new directions or instruction. It was a very fulfilling day in giving over to the natural balance of life when the unknown lies in front you and because of it I was able to move with the two qualities I mentioned yesterday, calm and patience.
The above photo was taken by me in Laredo, Spain on June 15, 2013. The weather in Northern Spain has been rainy and wet since January of this year. We have had just a few days of full sun, and as you can see by this photo, even this day we were not spared of afternoon showers. Laredo is a gorgeous beach town full of modern condominiums but with a sweet old town and beautiful walks through the hills towards the sea. The day we were here there were lots of para gliders and an Ironman Triathlon at the port. I highly recommend a visit. From Bilbao you can take a bus that is 6 Euro and takes 50 minutes.
The photo below was taken by me today in Plentzia, Spain as we kayaked through the buoyed fishing boats.
Did you ever happen to notice that if you slow down and pay attention things will all of a sudden come in to alignment? it’s so cool!
These past 4 days I needed to go to care for one of my children and I needed to put my 108 days of yoga immersion on hold. What I didn’t realize was, I wasn’t really doing that. As I made my way through various flights, buses and lots and lots of walking towards my destination I put in to effect all that I had been practicing in the last 30 days. I started slowing my thoughts down. I began to breath deeper to stay focused and come in tune with my task. I was practicing and immersing myself in the glory of the habit that I had already started forming.
The days I was away were quite different than I had planned in my head. There was that yoga again…live in the here and now and stop forecasting what should and shouldn’t be…and the yoga was taking hold. The conversations I had planned in my head that we would have, the walks and tears we would shed just didn’t happen. My adult child just needed me to be near while healing through the nourishment of sleep and companionship. My child taught me the beauty again of being quiet with someone whom you love, even in the hardest and most challenging moments.
It has taken me these last 24 hours of being home again to reflect on the strength of love and a genuine yogic lifestyle. I sense these last 4 days will be an ongoing reflection for me and for that I am grateful to have had made the time.
1/4! I am 1/4 of the way in to a wonderful 108 days of yoga immersion. Wahoooo! Numbers don’t usually mean a whole lot to me but for some reason this is powerful. I have noticed the noticing I am doing. I am steadying my thoughts more often when they begin to try to double talk their way in to my life. I am being waaaaay more compassionate to people and things that used to get my Taurus nature ticking. I am committed to this practice and hopefully by the time I reach the “glass is full” stage I will not need the number system to guide me towards these traits and better habits & it will be my new nature. As for now, I’m a 1/4 full!
“TRY TO LEARN TO BREATHE DEEPLY, REALLY TO TASTE FOOD WHEN YOU EAT, AND WHEN YOU SLEEP, REALLY TO SLEEP. TRY AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE TO BE WHOLLY ALIVE WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT, AND WHEN YOU LAUGH, LAUGH LIKE HELL. AND WHEN YOU GET ANGRY, GET GOOD AND ANGRY. TRY TO BE ALIVE. YOU WILL BE DEAD SOON ENOUGH.” – Ernest Hemingway
Today’s yoga practice included a beautiful 2 hour walk along the coastal path in St. Maria de Getxo, Spain. The above photo was taken by me along the walk way @ Playa de Ereaga.
It is a sunny afternoon in Northern Spain today and I am happy to have the warmth and healing light in my life. My spirit has felt so exhausted with worry for my child as that sweet soul regains strength from a recent traumatic event. May the rays of sun so plentiful here today find their way across the sea to my lovely kid. My prayer is that this event will not define or limit my child from living a big and beautiful wandering life.
This photo was taken by me in Las Arenas, Getxo, Spain….a mid spring bloom!
Todays yoga practice was an Asana by Jo Tasla on YogaGlo and readings from The Yoga Sutras regarding meditation.
The most difficult time of a sabbatical is when our children or family back home are wishing for us to be at home. It’s like a tide of energy moving forcefully, determined to knock us down one by one. With a family of 6 the odds of one of us getting toppled is a given, but the thing I have noticed and find comfort in, is the strength of the others to not lose sight of the floundering soul. With my 2 oldest children away from us & attending schools in other parts of the EU the opportunity to sink is so much greater because their daily strength is not fed by the family. Yet when they start to waiver or have a set back, they know from experience that the life preserver is just a small throw, or phone call away. As parents we are trying very hard to let them work through life so that integrity, hard work and responsibility can be the corner stones of our children’s lives.
Today we experienced a new homesickness rooted in a traumatic event. One of our children was seriously hurt and we realized that the support network of local friends was not what it seemed. Like a small child entering the ocean and being tackled by the waves, our kid is entering the wave of adulthood and not quite sure how to negotiate the force that is more experienced and stronger. For me, parenting a young adult is a whole new world and I am trying not to let the waves take me down either. While I reach toward my child with strength and a firm foundation, my yoga practice reminds me that compassion is the guide, life will eb and flo, and love will pull us through. We may miss the place that reminds us of effortless friendships, extended family and the memories of a gentler and safer time. But ultimately our home is within us, regardless of the pins position on the map. My children will have a journey that will include suffering and safety. They will have a journey full of travel and times at home. They will have a life that will eb and flow, and I will too.
Today’s asana practice Seane Corn’s “Elements of Flow” on YogaGlo followed by a 20 minute home practice of hip openers and yoga bicycles. I often store my anxiety in my hips and core. By combining a slow flowing practice that is centered in a solid foundation, and working on the places I store my anxiety (hips and core), I may be able to stay more grounded in my emotions.