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Yoga

Yoga for the Rest of Us: For fear of leading people to believe that yoga is all rainbows and butterflies and crying on your mat, I thought I’d share my experience with yoga from the very beginning.

Beginner’s Guide to Yoga (also see FAYQ): I’ve seen people breeze through their first hot yoga class without batting an eye or breaking a sweat. I assume these are the same people who glide into parallel parking spots on the first try, assemble IKEA furniture without the instructions, always have mind-blowing first sex and never get stopped at airport security. I hate these people. I am not one of these people.

Budget Yoga: When compared to gym memberships that can run as low as $25/month, yoga looks like a massive financial burden. A monthly unlimited pass will usually run you about $100/month at most studios. If you practice daily (which I realize most people don’t) you’re looking at a cost of about $3/class. This is hands down the best deal you can get, especially considering that most drop-in class rates are about $15 each. Nevertheless, $100/month is an expense not everyone can or will commit to, but there are other options for finding yoga on the cheap.

Circle the Facts: The cruel joke of it all (and the point of the exercise) was to show us how we create these stories and this drama that get us all worked up and, in the end, it all exists only in our heads. When you pare it down to just the facts, it’s not all that bad. A realization that is at once so frustrating and so freeing.

Flesh or Light: It’s just… enormous. This whole concept. It’s huge. It’s all I’ve been able to think about for the last two weeks. I keep telling everyone but I feel like I’m not explaining it right. I want everyone to read it and get it and, more importantly, do it. Make the choice. What do you want? Do you want to be right or happy? Are you flesh and bone here to die or are you pure, divine, immortal light?

Right or Happy?: But we don’t let it go. We let little things become big things. We obsess. We over think. We hold on for dear life. And you know why? Because we’d rather be right than be happy. Because if your little story  about how terrible everyone else is falls apart, then suddenly the blame is on you. Suddenly your happiness is your own responsibility. And I suppose that is a little bit scary. It’s a lot easier to blame someone else, isn’t it?

Don’t Tell Me What Yoga Is: These are things I never expected to say. This is a person I never expected to be. I credit my yoga practice with the immense personal and physical growth I’ve experienced in the last couple years, but I would have never, ever practiced at all if you’d started me off in a quiet, incensed silent studio with meditation and breathwork and sutra study and all those “weird” things. I would have rolled my eyes.

Claim Your Space: This blog is my space. It is not a democracy; it’s a diary. I started writing Sweet Tater for myself and so long as it is written, it will be first and foremost for me. That I have built up a small “audience” is wonderful and exciting and humbling, but I do not do this for traffic.

As if Today Were Yesterday: The problem with comparing two different yoga practices or two different yoga postures or, hell, the same posture on two different sides of your body is that we start to build connections and draw conclusions from one to the other that simply do not apply. Basically, what happens on one day or in one pose or on one side of our body leads us to create expectations for the next day or the next pose or the next side. And this is a slippery slope because it sets us up for disappointment or, on the other hand, leads us to set the bar too low as a means of self preservation.

To Love to Breathe: You know those moments in life that make you really grateful to exist? I am having one such moment. It’s the kind of thing that makes your bed feel a little bit softer, your food taste a little bit better, your friends and family seem a little bit more invaluable, and yourself feel a little less invincible.

Through Every Open Door: The biggest challenge I find in writing the goals is that I’m writing them as broken, tired (and let’s face it) terrified me and, as a result, am crafting my future from within the confines of how I see and feel right now. I’m not pushing myself to get what I really want. I feel like I’m writing down what I know I could achieve pretty easily.

Yoga for Core Strength (video): Since starting my yoga practice four or five years ago, I’ve noticed this amazing evolution in both body and mind that has truly changed my life. I’m happier. I’m healthier. Hot diggity damn, I have abs. But that’s not the point.

5 Reasons to do Yoga: I did not always love yoga. I’ve been pretty open about the fact that back in my work-out-until-you-vomit-and-break-your-body days, I thought yoga was a real joke of an “exercise.” If you, too, feel like yoga is a joke, I would like to try and persuade to reconsider it and perhaps even give it a try.

Teacher Training

  • Kerosene and Desire: To be perfectly honest… I got nothin’. I’ve got a broken heart that will not heal. I’ve got regrets about the past and a paralyzing fear of the future. I’ve got an empty bank account and a surplus of neurotic cats. I’ve got a whole lot of anxiety and, consequently, a newly acquired wine habit. I’ve got an impossible schedule, unrelenting guilt and incapacitating doubt. And all of that, I think, makes this the perfect time to throw myself into something that makes me feel so challenged and so powerful and so vulnerable and so alive as yoga.
  • I’m Ready: I love this and it was the right decision.
  • On Assisting: It’s a delicate thing to step onto something so private (and to some so sacred) a space as a yoga mat and get all up in someone’s business. Yoga is, after all, largely a solitary practice. But offered lovingly and accepted gratefully, an artfully delivered assist can be just what you need to go deeper into your own practice.
  • With Weightless Souls: I’m fully aware of how preoccupied and closed off and all-around frigid I’ve been since we started training. I don’t have an excuse other than that I was in a decidedly selfish survival mode that made it hard for me to find the time or the energy to care about anyone but myself. That’s so shitty, but it’s true.
  • The Aftermath: For me, the process was about identifying what you want, understanding and celebrating who you are and standing in the power of knowing that those two things will take you anywhere you want to go.
  • Aim Locked, Heartbeat Steady(my first class):  Today I’m exhausted and sick and a little overwhelmed with work, but funny thing happened. As is standard practice, I was circling the office (AKA Starbucks) on the hunt for an outlet for my always-dead laptop. A guy offered to share his tiny table and extra wall space. I graciously accepted. He asked what I do. I replied: “I’m a writer… And a yoga teacher.” And that, my friends, is what I want to do until the day I die.

Sivananda Yoga Retreat

  • I Hope They Have Coffee: Let go and let her find her own way. Odds are, it will lead back to you anyway. Let go and let yourself hurt. It’s temporary. Let go and live your dream. Life is too short not to. Let go and be uncomfortable. You have no idea how capable you are.
  • So I Went to the Bahamas: He set up the tent in the living room so I could pretend like I was a pro when I tried to do it myself a few hours later. We laid around in it right there on the living room rug and I realized this safe, comfortable little cocoon would look and feel quite different outside on a beach in the dark by myself.
  • Sivananda: The Schedule: “Oh girl, you must be new. You know there’s a Starbucks five minutes down the beach at Atlantis, right?” Her name was Roicin (Rah-sheen), a feisty Ireland native with a heavy Gaelic lilt. She’d been tending bar in New York the last four years before moving to the ashram two weeks ago to complete their intensive, militaristic teacher training program, which she described as “BULLSHIT… bullshit, girl.” We became fast friends. As fast as two people who do little more than shoot cynical glances across the temple during satsang can be, anyway.

One thought on “Favorites

  1. I found your blog by accident (or so it seemed) and found your honesty refreshing and encouraging. It’s amazing how so many people with very different backgrounds can easily come together when it comes to the challenges and blessings of everyday life. Sometimes life is WONDERFUL and sometimes it sucks. It’s all about the journey and becoming the person God knows we can become. It reminds me of how sculptors often describe their work. They envision a beautiful object inside the wood or stone and chip away at everything that doesn’t belong there until that which was envisioned has been revealed. In His eyes, we are all beautiful. :)

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