Full Moon

Full Moon … a time to take in the fullness of what you’ve been dreaming, planning, cultivating. A few poses here to inspire an openness to what is becoming.

Take a few Moon Salutations to warm the body in a reflective way. Then go with how your body wants to move! Maybe add a few reflective poses like the ones below. Note: The “lived-in” quality of my home doesn’t stop the practice 😉 … Create an oasis on your mat, whatever your chaos!

Let me know your fave moon-inspired poses in the comments ;).

Anahatasana — Heart-melting Pose … Whoa to the long arms in this pic 😂 …
I don’t know the name and yet I love the dignity, the reflecting back, and the outer hip stretch!
Forward Fold — rest your head on 1 or 2 blocks. Reflective, turning inward.

Wide-Legged Forward Fold with block to support head.
Enjoy the full moon and all you are becoming!

Yoga Classes — New Locations in June!

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Happy Day, Friends! Pencil in your yoga classes for summer with me! Hatha classes will continue at Love Yoga through May 31st … so keep showing up for yourself =). In June, I become a “free-range,” traveling yoga teacher!

UPDATE: On June 4th, we roll out our mats at The Avenue – A Center for Arts & Healing. It’s a home-y space with loads of light, a little kitchen (tea & snacks!), bathroom & a little outdoor seating area. Lots of options for parking too. Here’s a peek:

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I’m so grateful to Amy and Ryan for opening this space again to yoga (Y12SR classes were held here too!) … I know our positive community will bring good vibes to the building & spread those vibes like confetti in Uniontown.

Morning classes will run Monday to Thursday, & you can choose an easy-going, challenging, strength-building or restorative class. Drop-ins $10. Ten-class passes will be available for $90 (cash or check — old-school!). I teach at a few other places in town, so don’t hesitate to contact me about other locations — or if you’d like a private session or classes for your school or workplace.

One aspect of Hatha Yoga is “the union of opposites.” Summer brings heat & light, so this summer we will focus on cultivating sustainable heat (rather than burnout/depletion), alongside cooling postures & breathwork.

Never done Hatha Yoga? If you’ve been to a modern yoga class, you’ve experienced some aspect of Hatha. Many modern forms of yoga (vinyasa, yin, power, flow, etc.) are derived from traditional Hatha Yoga. Hatha Yoga is a holistic system of practices — postures, breathwork, relaxation & meditation, along with lifestyle practices — & you will experience many/all aspects of the Hatha system within each class at The Avenue (or wherever I may be teaching!).

I hope you’ll join me this summer in class — the practice of Hatha Yoga is more than postures. No flexibility required. Beginners welcome. Seasoned practitioners from any tradition welcome. Fellow yoga & wellness teachers welcome. No drama, competition, or photoshop here. Simple. Traditional yoga for our collective well-being. Real bodies/minds/spirits practicing life together.

I practice Hatha Yoga because the systematic practices work. I become more myself in mind, body, spirit. I share Hatha Yoga because it works. We become more ourselves with each practice — & we change the world. One small, dedicated community at a time.

Share this post with a friend interested in a positive-vibe community of practice this summer!

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I bow deeply to Love Yoga, to Kristin, Alycia & the Love Yoga community who have been my yoga home for 2 years. You have allowed me to flow, tumble, & get back up again with grace. We have changed the world, & will continue to do so as we go out from this place. The light in me honors the light in each of you. — E

44

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Changes.

I turned 44 this week. Third graders rushed me at school with open arms — “Happy Birthday, Ms. Engel!” (so sweet) “How old are you?” (wait …)

But that’s what we adults ask kids, right? “Happy Birthday! How old are you? … Ten years old … WOW … Are you having a party? … etc. etc.”

For all the issues I’ve worked through with self-confidence over the years, owning my age hasn’t been one of them. So when a kid asks me how old I am, I answer. I’ve earned every one of those years, by God, & I don’t resist the change in number.

Changes. Resistance.

I also learned on my birthday that the venue of my yoga community for the past 2 years is closing. How do I deal with the resistance to this change?

There were many reasons my yoga mentor prescribed a consistent meditation practice to me last year. Not a physical practice — a sitting practice. I’m discovering another reason now.

So I’m sitting. Letting life live through me. Feeling upside down … yet waiting to see how this side might be better than the side I’m on now.

I’m so grateful for 2+ years in this community of practice. My fellow teachers & I have dedicated ourselves to sharing the yoga practices from our respective yoga traditions, traditions with unbroken lineages for generations. I continue to strive for authenticity in sharing the yoga teachings of the Himalayan Tradition — yoga is deeper than making shapes with bodies — teachings which ultimately manifest healing & one-ness in mind, body & spirit.

Changes. Resistance. Let life live through. Prepare for what is to come.

So, as I begin my 45th circle around the sun, I’ll meet with my yoga teacher & mentor for wisdom, with my fellow Himalayan Institute teachers for support, & enjoy every moment with my community of practice. Immeasurable gratitude to each of you <3.

If you’re interested in beginning or continuing your yoga journey with me, check HERE for class times & venue updates!

What changes are you experiencing? What resistance? How are you letting life live through you, & preparing for what’s to come? I’d love to read more in your comments.

The Yoga of the Yogi

Whether you’re a yoga practitioner, teacher or otherwise, I hope you’ll pick up the book The Yoga of the Yogi*, about Professor Thirumalai Krishnamacharya, known as the “father of modern yoga.” I got a copy on inter-library loan!

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Among the interesting-to-me history: Krishnamacharya found his teacher (in a cave!) & spent seven years living with him & his family (in a cave!) … he moved on to years of academic study in Vedic texts, philosophy, Ayurveda & more … & he practiced & revived almost-forgotten yoga practices & Ayurvedic wisdom, teaching seekers from all over the world.

Krishnamacharya’s influence was vast. Hatha yoga is mentioned in the book, & I look forward to learning how he influenced, or was influenced by, the tradition that I’m learning/teaching. If you’re an Ashtanga Yoga practitioner, you know that Ashtanga’s founder, Pattabhi Jois, was one of Krishnamacharya’s students. If you’re an Iyengar practitioner, well, BKS Iyengar was Krishnamacharya’s student too. And, if you’re female, Krishnamacharya was one of the few yoga teachers who advocated for women learning the practices once thought only for men. His female students included Mala Srivatsan & Indra Devi, whose biography The Goddess Pose is a book to pick up too (again, inter-library loan rocks!).

Here are some excerpts that I found helpful in my own practice & teaching:

–> From Indra Devi:

I remember in one of the classes in the beginning, everybody was doing Pascimatanasana, Well, most everybody. You know [the posture where your] feet stretched on the floor, and inhale — exhale you tough the toes. My hands were so far from the toes that I asked one of my co-students to push me from the back. Sri [Krishnamacharya] told me, “No, no, no! You can injure muscle. You can do it by and by.” And I remember I’m on the floor, looking up at him and saying, “[maybe I can do it] in my next incarnation.”

To me, this is a message at the heart of yoga’s teaching demonstrated here so simply and powerfully by Krishnamacharya.

“Yoga,” he always emphasized, “must be modified to fit you, not the other way around.”

 

–> “Teach what is inside of you,” [Krishnamacharya] always said, “not as it applies to you. But as it applies to the other [who is receiving it].

 

–> When asked hypothetical or esoteric questions, Krishnamacharya said,

“Let us first learn to be competent in those things that would be of direct benefit and immediate use for our people.”

 

What was “yoga” before the modern “exercise craze” took over the physical posture aspect of yoga? I don’t know if many of us will ever know … I teach asana, breathwork & relaxation practices in my classes, yet I’m afraid there’s so much more that we could be offering students on the path of healing & re-membering themselves. Ah to learn from teachers like Krishnamacharya!

If you pick up “The Yoga of the Yogi,” let me know what spoke to you (or didn’t) in the comments! May your practice bring you peace & stability on & off your  mat this week!

Hear ye hear ye

More books from the library!

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*Note: Unfortunately, I ran across a 2012 article from YogaDork outlining allegations of sexual harassment against Kesthaub Desikachar, author of this book & Krishnamacharya’s grandson. The Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram organization, founded by TKV Desikachar (Krishnamacharya’s son & closest student) & which carries on Krishnamacharya’s legacy, posted a statement distancing themselves from Kesthaub Desikachar. I cannot imagine the despair of those affected, nor of the people who try to carry on Krishnamacharya’s mission with authenticity. My sympathies.

The Himalayan Tradition in which I am learning & teaching also has its skeletons to deal with regarding allegations of sexual harassment against Swami Rama, who brought the practices to the West. It is an issue that all of us who teach & learn in any tradition / lineage must wrestle with. I have no universal answer, yet continue to practice, learn & try to teach the universal principles of yoga.

Snow Day Musings

On the calendar it’s Spring … yet here in southwest Pennsylvania, Mother Nature says “not quite yet” with several inches of snow this morning & still falling. Yoga classes cancelled, no school today … the boys & I went out for a walk at dawn, quietly padding along the softened sidewalks, only the sanitation & salt trucks (thank you!) out & about.

Once back home, the boys fed, watered & snuggled for their morning snooze, I’ve delighted in a 90-minute Hatha practice, followed by meditation & abhyanga. After a several-week run of mental & emotional activity, this snow day is a welcome respite.

“Must be nice,” your go-go-go mind says? Mine too. And yet a few minutes of quiet in one’s day — an extra moment to take in the smell of a good cup of coffee, allow your gaze to pause at the brilliant white of snow (before the plows get to it), or gently massage those too-tight temples — can be just as satisfying to our minds & soothing to our nervous systems. So go for it! Take a mini snow day right now & I’ll see ya back here soon ;).

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Welcome Back! How do you feel?

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Now for some of my snow day musings … Enjoy!

 

The latest trend is that yoga is for everybody and for every body. I believe this as much as the next person, but that doesn’t mean that a practice that’s right for a 25-year-old woman is also appropriate for someone who is 50 years old. – Pat Shapiro, “Yoga for Women at Midlife and Beyond” (2006)

That quote was from 2006 … how does this thought resonate with you in 2018? For me, I feel tension. As a very stubborn redhead (Case in point: There’s a story going around that as a toddler I held my breath til I passed out because I was pissed at my parents) part of me says, “I can do what I did 15 years ago, I’ll show you.” And for the most part, I can –I can power through X, Y, Z “advanced” poses. I can get into a few pretzel-like shapes. They’re not on Instagram, but I can do it.

Indeed, as a very stubborn redhead I can power through workday after workday, I can hike for miles, I can sleep 5-6 hours, get up & go. And go. And go.

And can I tell you how I feel AFTER I do, do, do all this “advanced” stuff — on the mat or out in the world? Ah, but you already know =).

While yoga is (in part) a form of movement, it is not exercise in the Western sense. And there’s the tension. While often we’re encouraged to exercise to the point of exhaustion, the yoga practices & philosophy encourage movement as a form of rejuvenation, not depletion. I’ve heard it said that in yoga we practice at about 65 – 75% of our capacity — this is the “sweet spot” that gets our inner fire stoked, yet not flaming uncontrollably & scorching our bodies / nervous systems to the point of depletion (whether after one mat practice, or over years of depleting practices).

So, let’s embrace the tension: Yoga is for everybody & for every body. If this is so, then the movement, breath, meditative, & lifestyle practices of yoga ALSO must be tailored to the individual. As Pat Shapiro says in “Yoga for Women in Midlife & Beyond:”

Yoga is a homecoming, a coming home to ourselves.

It doesn’t matter that the person next to you in class can balance on one foot longer than you can, or that her form looks [just-so] in a particular pose. Each of you is a different individual with a different body, a different history, and a different mindset. You each have your own strengths and limitations. And you are each in a different place every single day.

In yoga practice, we even avoid competing with ourselves. Perhaps you were able to hold a posture longer yesterday than today. Rather than criticizing yourself or pushing yourself unnecessarily, we learn to accept that this is where we are at this point in time. There may be a very good reason for the difference: maybe you didn’t sleep well last night or your mind is preoccupied because of distressing news you received before you began practicing. All these things have an impact.

It helps to keep in mind one of the concepts from classic yoga philosophy: the idea that everything changes. Once day you can balance on one foot for a full minute; the next day you can’t even stand for a few seconds. Or, your allergies are terrible today. You can’t go out of the house without having a sneezing fit. You feel like allergy season will never end. Yoga philosophy tells us that WHAT YOU’RE EXPERIENCING IS REAL … and it will change. Simply knowing this can give a broader perspective on your varying responses to your practice.

I muse on these things because I need to hear them … I need to hear that yoga is for every body … for my body … as she is today. I need to hear that my practice 10 years ago isn’t my practice today. Going further, my “doings” in life off the yoga mat 10 years ago aren’t my doings in life today. What I am experiencing in my body / mind today — whether I label these things positive, negative or neutral — is REAL … & will change.

May you gain some benefit from these musings too =).

Finally, this is why I’m loving sharing Hatha yoga practices in my little corner of the world. I love observing how people in my classes adjust the postures mindfully to fit their bodies on that day, and/or how the yoga teachings can support them in doing so through variations of poses, breathing techniques or relaxation support. To witness a body “come home to herself” is an amazing privilege.

So, yoga is for everybody & every body … AND I hope we will approach the practices & philosophy of yoga with Pat’s reminder to attend to our unique bodies/minds on our unique days in our unique stages of life. In this way, we continue our journey home to our Selves. May it be so!

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Here’s my pile o’ books from the library — the amazing feeling of an armful of books — & for FREE! What’s on your reading list this snow day? I’d love to add to my list!

Poem – John Tiong Chunghoo

Physical pain has brought me to my knees this week. I know there are people out there who deal with physical pain on a daily basis. I cannot imagine the strength you are required to muster each day. Deep bow to you — may you find peaceful, pain-free moments today. May you TAKE GOOD CARE of yourself today.

The full moon was a sight to see … the following poem spoke to me today, as I reflected on watching the moon amidst pain last night.

 

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The moon glows
in bright yellow

The moon takes in all my pain
to glow in bright yellow

The more the pain
the greater the strength of its glows

The moon comes a-calling
first peeping
through the window
then takes leave
from the sky
roll from the tree,
and over the window
to the table and to my bed circling softly round
comforting my head
taking in all my aches
encasing them all in her
round body
The more it take my torments
The brighter it becomes
till my pain is now
a bright great mesmerising moon, rolling, rowing
over my whole physique
a mom taking all care, bearing all sins
to make sure her child is in full ease

the moon, with each
throb of my pain
it increases in its brightness

the moon with each
throb of my pain
it increases in brightness

giving my life
a new lease of hope

taking away all my aches

Random Love Notes this Week

Thank you to the Love Yoga community for welcoming me to practice, teach & learn alongside you in 2017. LOVE YOGA STUDIO CELEBRATES 3 YEARS on February 9th! Stop by & celebrate with us!

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 Yoga is VASTLY more than physical poses! Go deeper. Join me Sunday afternoons in March for Love Yoga’s Intro to Meditation Course. Click HERE for more info & early bird registration.

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Just finished “Behold the Dreamers, A Novel” by Imbolo Mbue. If you’re learning to hold opposites, as we do in many yoga practices, this book provides an off-the-mat opportunity.

 

I continue my journey of self-care & rest in the 40-Day Yoga Nidra Challenge with Karen Brody’s book & Facebook community page “Daring to Rest.” Stressed? Feeling off? Unmotivated? Try out some yogic sleep & let’s talk!

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When I find a unique gift for my hubby, that’s JUST sappy enough without making me puke … it’s RARE & I GO FOR IT! Check out The Night Sky to create custom star maps for a special person / event in your life.*

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Hope to see you in-person or online this week, E

*I don’t get any kickbacks from this stuff … it’s just stuff I like & think “I gotta share this!”

Yoga Nidra — Return to Self

Me and my boy Tortilla in early January …

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MY TEACHER — TORTILLA

Tortilla knows how to play hard … every second is a new adventure for this kid. Jim has described the contents of Tortilla’s brain as “full of silliness & squirrels.” But our boy knows comfort & rest better than any living being I know. He seeks out the fluffiest blankets, the sunniest sunspots, the coziest corners … & takes full advantage. Towels just out of the dryer? Yes, please. Space on Mama’s lap (or some way I can MAKE space)? Here I am. While backpacking – your pillow or that poofy sleeping bag? Hmm, move over just a bit, Dad.

While our boy Baxter is constantly vigilant, always watching us, herding us or otherwise on the lookout … Tortilla’s motto seems to be Why stand when I can sit? Why sit when I could lay down? Why stay awake when I could be napping? They’ll get me when they’re ready for fun … or when there are squirrels.

Another teacher in our midst.

I don’t “rest” well. I’m a habitually light sleeper, lived on 5-6 hours of sleep in grad school, & burned the candle at both ends through more than a few jobs I was passionate about. I stay up later than necessary, & have always been an early riser. And I’ve never liked naps (much to Jim’s utter dismay). Waste of time. I could be accomplishing something. I don’t sit still often by choice … though I sit more often than I’d like to admit these last few years … nevertheless, when I’m sitting I’m doing something. While Tortilla can totally let go & just rest after a hard day of chasing sunspots indoors & bunnies outdoors, I keep going well after the workday or work week officially ends.

When I list the jobs / projects I’m involved with, people have often commented, “Wow, you’re a busy lady!” For a Type A personality, that’s a compliment … a badge of honor … right?

Then I look at Tortilla …

MY LESSON — REST

I’m starting to understand this “you’re busy” comment as a gentle nudge from Something Bigger to step back & re-evaluate … a red flag that I’ve … once again … overstepped my own rhythm & sustainability.

In a previous blog post, I wrote about meeting with one of my yoga teachers/mentors … & how we talked about everything from the yoga classes I’m teaching, to recent deaths in my family/community, to my food choices, to my sleep quality. I was prepared to take notes on an asana practice she’d assign me for the next 6 months … but we didn’t talk much about physical poses (except for my aggravated shoulder … no chaturangas for me).

Rather, she gave me a meditation practice, offered tips for my food choices based on Ayurvedic principles, & encouraged me to find nourishment.

Permission to rest.

MY PRACTICE — YOGA NIDRA

I’d already practiced yoga nidra a few times over the past few months. What is yoga nidra? It’s a form of “yogic sleep” adapted by Swami Satyananda from traditional yoga practices of nyasa. Click here for a down-to-earth definition =). I’d also looked into a yoga nidra program called Daring to Rest, by Karen Brody, & had tried a few of her free sessions. After our meeting, I signed up for the 40-Day Daring to Rest Challenge, which began January 8th.

So, 20 days in … it’s not been easy. You’d think, well, just lay down & be still & zone out. Nuh-uh. There’s work to be done in yoga nidra, but not the outer, superficial, social media post work. This work is internal, subtle … a gentle, powerful return to myself.

Just granting myself PERMISSION to stop … to STOP … was life-changing.

Then accepting that maybe I AM THE EXPERT on me, on who I am & who I can be — rather than co-opting someone else’s solutions, however “yogic” or spiritual or lovely they might be.

Finally, learning … still learning … that I AM NOT CRAZY. And I have felt crazy at various times over the past few years (… decades)? I have felt a random yet powerful connection in nature … I have had wicked powerful emotions come out of nowhere … I have intuited something & thought, oh boy, if I say this out loud …

It’s a powerful statement to say “The feminine part of us is not crazy” … The feminine is INTUITIVE, sometimes a little wild … & women have an internal power most of us don’t tap into regularly. What you choose to call the source of that intuition is up to you — Something Bigger, God, Universe, Spirit — go for it. The feminine is powerfully connected with rhythm, cycles, ebbs & flows … which has been ignored or dismissed at best, or has resulted in shame or even persecution of women (& some men) at worst. To rediscover those rhythms, cycles, connections is overwhelming for me, yet also pretty fucking awesome.

I’M ONLY ONE

So I’m experimenting on myself, figuring out what works =). So far, dialing back on my commitments, eating cleaner food (most of the time 😉 ), getting back into Nature, & broadening my yoga practice with yoga nidra are supporting me in slowly returning to myself — it’s not happening overnight or even over a year. Long-term project, internal, subtle … & I hope I’ll encourage someone else along the way.

How do you return to yourself?

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The “S” Word

A woman new to Love Yoga practiced with me in Hatha I last week. After class, we got to chatting … & I became the student.

The lesson? Mary takes every Wednesday for her own self-care.

Yep. Whole day. Every week. My mind was blown too.

Mary works a LOT — she owns her own business, providing self-care services for others as an aesthetician. Her daily schedule may consist of 10-12 hours of client appointments. She gives her expert skills, her time, & most importantly her positive emotional & mental energy to each client she serves. And each client walks back into their stressful lives feeling pampered physically, yes, but more importantly also a little more centered in spirit.

So, as I was learning more about her family & her work, she drops wisdom meant seemingly just for me — Self-care isn’t selfish. She said, “It’s part of my job, my responsibility as a professional. I care for my temple — body, mind, spirit — so I can give the best to my family & to my clients.”

But a WHOLE DAY?? Who has a whole day to devote to yourself, let alone a whole day EACH WEEK?

I’m amazed. I’m inspired. Mary has a vibe about her that is positively infectious, inspiring … I’ll have what she’s having, please.

While I rarely have a whole day to devote to my own self-care, this month I’ve scheduled a 30-minute massage each week. And honestly, I was feeling bad about it — like, is this really necessary? C’mon, Erica, you’re over-indulging just a bit … does your budget really allow for this?

My conversation with Mary came at just the right time … not to validate a luxury, but to remind me of what’s essential.

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I have a feeling deep in my bones that many of you pour yourselves into others day in & day out. No one has accused you of laziness or slacking, Sister!

So, what practices are essential to your well-being? Though these practices seem “luxuries” to some — a warm bath, a massage, a day staring out the window, a day in the woods — they are essential for your soul. I encourage you, as I’m encouraging myself, to be inspired by Mary’s wisdom & example. If you’re reading this post, Mary — thank you for my lesson!

On a side note, since my last post, I’ve been taking part in Karen Brody’s “Daring to Rest” 40-Day Challenge. Yoga Nidra is a HUGE challenge for me … I’ll be updating you on my rest progress soon. Until then, may you practice intentional Self-Care this week — I hope to hear from you here or on the mat soon! Cheers, E

Is Your “Check Engine” Light On?

The “check engine” light in our Subaru has been a sometimes off, sometimes on reality over the past few years. At first, each time the light came on we scheduled a maintenance appointment — during which the auto mechanic often found something totally unrelated to the engine wrong with our car =) — had the “check engine” sensor turned off, only to have it come on again a month or so later. So, I started to ignore it.

 

The “check engine” light has been on again for months now.

 

As we approach the end of 2017, I’m looking back over my journal, my notes, my thoughts, my energy, etc. etc. So many good things happening — I’m enjoying teaching yoga at Love Yoga, I’m back at Lafayette Elementary with amazing teachers & kids, the WELS Adventure Program finished its 4th session with 10 young graduates, the Lafayette School Garden grew again this year, & my work with Canine Partners for Life at SCI-Greene continues to inspire me. Jim & I got to take an awesome few weeks together with our fur-kids Baxter & Tortilla, camping & traveling through New England this summer, & also got to visit my grandparents in Illinois for Thanksgiving.

 

Check Engine?

 

In addition, I continue to notice “little things” about my energy levels & mind state. I’m more wired yet tired mentally this year, maybe the past few years, than I have been in the past … even with all my practices to counteract such things =). I’m not getting as much physically strenuous exercise in recent years … often feeling too exhausted to rouse myself for a weekend hike or kayaking with Jim. I’m prone to anxious thoughts, worries about things that haven’t happened, & always trying to figure out the perfect thing to do / say … all of which are brought to light when I’m overtaxed.

 

Check Engine.

 

But I push through — I’m supposed to be able to handle what’s going on in my life. I’ve done it for years, through jobs, family upheavals, changes in physical health, moves across the country, & other chosen or unexpected changes in life. Buck up, deal with it, & make it happen, E. Here’s where some Ayurveda dosha knowledge is interesting to me — being a Pitta-Vata type, when I’m in balance I am energetic & creative, confident & loyal to people & passions, & I get shit done.

 

And Pitta-Vata types like me (maybe like you) burn out easily. We LOVE what we do, we want to say YES to it all because the program, the person’s need, the idea is awesome or somewhere we can make a difference. I/We keep pushing & pushing because that’s what we’re SUPPOSED to do. We have high expectations — & yet when out of balance, we judge ourselves harshly when we don’t live up to perfection, and/or get spacy, jumping from thing to thing to thing in search of deeper meaning.

 

CHECK ENGINE

 

So here we are in December, & I finally got time to make an appointment with a yoga teacher whom I greatly respect & have learned so much from. It took a few months for us to coordinate our schedules, & when we met last week I had a list of questions about my yoga practice, what I should do next in my teaching, about my shoulder injury … because that’s what I do, I figure things out & get shit done ;).

 

My teacher asked me, “So what’s going on in your life right now?”

 

I began to talk about my & Jim’s respective jobs, about my yoga teaching … & then started talking about the funeral we attended for a dear older friend the day before, about the death of another dear friend a few weeks before, & about Jim’s grandmother’s death the month before. I haven’t experienced death so closely … & in such succession … in my time on earth yet. Health scares in my own family have my internal anxiety showing itself. Jim is traveling to Israel in January, which is a GRAND opportunity for him … yet I find myself unable to sleep for worry over news coming out of the Middle East.

 

I talked about feeling tired & a bit “down” this year or so … like I’m running out of gas. I found myself tearing up, trying to hold it together (because I’m supposed to, right). All these heavy things coming up … which I didn’t connect … from a simple question “How’s it going?” … from someone who’s coming from her own inner space to listen. I’ve thought something is wrong with me, that I’m not hacking life like I used to.

 

CHECKING ENGINE

 

This time with my teacher didn’t go as I expected, yet was just what I needed. Simply being affirmed, “that’s a lot to deal with Erica, & it’s ok to be human” was a relief. A big sigh & tearful release — a “thank God I’m not losing it.” As we discussed how to move forward, she didn’t analyze poses or give me a specific physical practice … we talked about my food choices (eat more, & take in more nourishing foods), I received a meditation practice, & we discussed ways to use my teaching to balance & re-ignite inspiration.

 

I left feeling exhausted after our session, yet in an oddly uplifted way … does that even make sense? I sat in my car & let my body deflate for a few moments … deep deeeeep breaths … what a relief to let go. Then I put the keys in the ignition & turned on the car.

 

No “Check Engine” light.

 

Seriously, you can laugh … or think I’m making it up … because I did … amidst my tears I noticed the light was off & just about fell over laughing.

 

Take a moment, a week, a year (like I am) to check your engine. Mine may come back on now & then, just as a gentle reminder. Let’s keep each other updated on how it’s going =).

 

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