March 18, 2011

Finding Some Balance

When it's this cold and windy, it's hard not to go just a little bit nuts.
Last week, while having one of those hanging-by-a-thread-so-thin-it-would-break-in-a-soft-breeze sort of days, I decided to stop for a moment and do a little yoga while Willa napped.

Nap time is so very precious, and I know I should be taking time for myself, but inevitably, I end up working or planting, cleaning or prepping dinner.

So, I've been trying to prioritize time for my mind and my body.

That means yoga. In the course of the last 10 years, I've gone in and out of practice, needing yoga more during some times and less during others. But it's been a constant in my life -- something I've always seemed to find my way back to. I can't (or won't) run and I don't have any other major physical tendencies other than work so yoga is my exercise of choice.

It's helped keep me centered and relatively sane through bouts of depression, loneliness, intense stress and transition, cancer and a few years of infertility. You could say it's been good to me.

These days, I mostly just hop on the mat and breathe and stretch, with no real time for a full practice and no options for in-person classes in this little rural town.  But when I need someone to guide me and motivate me I bring up Yoga Today, a Web site that gives great classes -- streaming. I can deepen my practice from my living room, on my own time and in whatever pajamas I have yet to change out of that day. 

They offer a free class every week and pretty affordable subscriptions for the rest of their library. I used to have the unlimited access subscription and I loved it. I could tailor my practice each day based on what I was in to: backbends, balance, twists, etc. But, now I'm back to the free once-a-week class because that's about all I can find time for. And it seems to work just fine, except  I'm not a big fan of one of the instructors. So I take my chances with her running the free class of the week.

Last week, of course, it was her class up on the screen.

"Set an intention for your practice" she started. 

I do like this reminder. Setting an intention is a good mechanism for taking me out of of my head and thinking bigger. Like, instead of running through my to-do list, I'm thinking "I want to be kind and brave today." Instead of "I need to do the dishes today," it's "I want to be positive and present."

She then suggested we might want to "build insight, intuition, courage" today.

So, I bowed my head and looked into my "heart of hearts" to set my intention, trying not to be annoyed.

I thought about intuition and courage, insight and kindness. What luxuries, I thought. How was I supposed to cultivate insight when all I could do at that moment was stop myself from a) sobbing uncontrollably; b) wanting let the dog out so she could run away and I could never have to deal with another pile of dog hair in my kid's mouth ever again; or c) scream loud enough for the neighbors to call the police.

Some days, intuition is an attainable goal. Other days though, it's enough to just be -- as another bit of yoga wisdom might suggest.

So, I came up with an intention that I now have written down on a scrap of paper for the days I need yoga, but can't find it within myself to "shine like a jewel in the crown of consciousness." (Seriously, I've heard that from an instructor. The aforementioned instructor, actually.)

My bad-day mantra now goes like this:

Dear Courtney, 

Please don't lose your shit today. 


1 comment:

  1. Shine like a jewel in the crown of consciousness? It's a damn good thing you didn't pay for that. And, seriously, about the dog. I have not changed a diaper in my home that was not concealing at least one -- and often many many more -- Reina hairs stuck to my baby's junk. Currently, she has opened another freaking open sore on herself and it's almost enough to make me forget all the wonderful times we had together.
    So I hear ya babe on the letting the dog out.
    And one time I did scream so loud the neighbors could hear me.
    You're doing awesome -- and awesome takes many forms.



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