When I believe my thoughts I am anxious. When I connect with reality, I am at peace. I have known this for a long time, and now more than ever it holds true. It is so humbling to admit that all of my training couldn’t prepare me for this reality. Yoga is fun and neat when you’re sitting in a room with 30 people, learning how to teach people yoga in a thriving studio on a normal day. No one prepared me for a Pandemic. No one told me how it would feel when I couldn’t see my students anymore. No one explained what it would be like to go into a store and find empty shelves. No one described the despair I’d feel contemplating bringing my children up during a widespread economic collapse. After so many years of encouraging my students to breathe, I find myself holding my breath. After teaching my students how to stay present, I find myself feeling anxious about the future. After guiding my students into deep relaxation, I feel anxiety alive in my body. I remember that this will one day be a memory. When this is all over, I’d like to be able to tell the story about how I realized I could just fully relax, how I spent my time creating wonderful things and then the Pandemic was over, and I could look back on the quarantine feeling proud that I stayed strong… I guess I better start breathing and staying present, just like I’ve been teaching all these years.
No matter what happens, no matter what shuts down, I’m still here. Schools are closed. Airports shut down. I’m still here. Mass hysteria, sensationalism. I’m just going to hunker down, and as the wave passes…. I’m still here.
I love how it doesn’t matter how much I’ve attempted to stay present but failed miserably… I love that no matter how many times my mind hijacked my consciousness with thoughts of the past or thoughts of the future, the present always holds me. I always am here. I always am now. My work is to know this deeply, integrating awareness of the present moment through bodily sensations, through breath, through the intention to be of service. I see the perfection of my journey, how all experiences led me to this moment. All I can feel now… …is gratitude.
Up late getting ready. Big day. Big weekend. Today I taught three yoga classes. Tomorrow I’ll teach three classes, then I’ll lead a five hour training. I made eye pillows to give the participants, as well as training manuals so that they can take the information with them. I made a kale and quinoa salad for our working dinner tomorrow. All in all, it will be a twelve hour day… Sunday I’ll teach three more classes. And somehow, somehow, I am to find the time and stamina to PACK MY HOUSE BECAUSE IT’S TIME TO MOVE. I decided it’s not time to freak out. Freaking out is an old, outworn habit, and it really serves no purpose. Instead, I’m choosing presence. I’m showing up inside each moment, clear on what the moment is calling for, and doing that. When it’s time to teach, I’ll teach. When it’s time to eat, I’ll eat. When it’s time to pack, I’ll pack. When it’s time to move, I’ll move. And when it’s time to rest, I’ll rest. I am so grateful to have been brought to this simple place, where I no longer need to chastize myself for what I didn’t do sooner (that’s hopeless). In this simple place, I see what needs to be done, and I do that. There is so much peace in the present moment.
Who am I? I won’t answer Woman, mother, yoga teacher, recently divorced, hustling to make ends meet… that’s just the identity my society has programmed me to see. Who AM I? It’s better to ask, Who am I not? I am not this or that, not anything that can be labeled. The I within me existed long before the universe sprang into being, and will continue to last long after the earth ceases to support life. I am not young or old, I am not success or failure. I am unnameable, timeless, stillness in motion, particle and wave both. I am being and nonbeing, formlessness within form, the void inside matter, the light inside darkness, birth within death. I am neither sound nor silence, neither desire nor the fulfilment of desire. There is no place that I exist and there is no place that I do not exist. In the smallest particle of my self the Universe finds its center and spins into being. I am nothing and everything all at once, no beginning, no end. Then the small creature in me says, Yes, yes, all of this sounds great, but I still need to sleep.
Slow down. Breathe. Look around. Feel. Listen. Taste. Sense. This present moment is alive in you, as you. If you want happiness, fulfillment, peace, you need to look for those things where they are. Everything is here, now, in the present moment. Make yourself available to it.
Hey friends, yes, we all have to start somewhere…and although these videos are pretty hilarious in terms of lighting, sound quality, etc…you’ll get the idea and can benefit from them regardless of the quality.
And if you show up now at the beginning, you can boast to your friends ten years from now when I’m traveling all over the world teaching yoga and posting super professional videos, saying, “Yoga Mom? Yeah, we go way back. I’ve been following her since the beginning!” 😄 😊☺️
I can feel the pressure building inside of me,
pressure to get things done, get things organized,
be better, do more, know more,
pressure to have a plan,
pressure to answer others’ questions…
It’s the dark time of the year,
and the darkness is bringing me down.
I don’t want this pressure.
I want to hide.
God, help me change my mind.
Help me welcome the pressure.
Let me see this discomfort as a yoga posture
life has given me to master.
If I can breathe through it,
I can learn something from it.
New year, SAME you.
Because the you
you’ve always been
is good enough,
so why would you want
a new one?
Plus, how could you possibly
have a NEW you?
Are you going to clone yourself?
I think not!
You were born YOU,
and YOU you will always be.
So let’s celebrate the New Year,
and the same you.
Because you’re awesome already,
and you deserve to be celebrated.
Here’s the secret: You don’t need to do anything to be worthy.
You don’t have to change something,
or prove something
to be worthy of being here.
You were born,
and here you are,
I dare you to
trash those resolutions,
take a deep breath,
throw your arms open wide
“HIP HIP HOORAY, I’M ME!”
doesn’t it feel good?
Dedicated to fellow yoga teacher Pack Your Mat, who wrote this post about embracing yourself and your body just as you are, and dumping the ideas that you have to change anything at all about yourself as you enter this new year. LOVED IT.
I subbed a yoga class this evening.
I went into the ladies room
before I taught
and nearly ran into a woman
right in front of a full length mirror.
I wondered why,
with all of the benches around,
was she changing right there,
staring at herself in the mirror…
This young woman ended up
in my class.
She was quiet and graceful;
I wondered if she was plagued
by the same body dissatisfaction
that is sold to us by our
body obsessed culture…
or maybe does she love her body??
After my class
I nearly ran into yet another woman
right in front of the same mirror.
This one exclaimed “SHIT! I forgot my pants!”
She was not as quiet
and maybe not as graceful.
I keep thinking about these two,
wondering about how we learn
to be preoccupied with our appearance,
obsessed with our reflection,
needing to see ourselves doing
the simplest things.
Maybe this is why
I often ask my students to close their eyes.
You don’t need to see to breathe.
Sometimes what we see outside
is such a distraction
that we have no attention left
for what’s inside.
Why stare at yourself
as you change one shell for another?
Could we learn to look a little deeper?