Tag Archives: yoga

Perfect Moment Monday: Proud Warrior

My yoga mat has become a sacred space, imbued with my own energy — de-frenzified for a few moments. When I roll it out and begin my practice, my body responds by breathing more deeply. My mind responds by yoking itself to my breath and my body. My spirit responds by settling in, by more fully occupying the cells of my physical body.

One morning this month, my spirit soared over the mat next to me. My son joined me at yoga class. Not just because he’s an athlete and knows that doing yoga will help him gain strength, flexibility, balance and focus. But just to be with his mama. My son got up early on a day off to hang out with me doing what I like to do.

boy in warrior 2 yoga pose

Yoga wasn’t easy for him. He struggled but didn’t quit. For the final pose, savasana (corpse pose in which all you do is relax, the yin to the rest of the practice’s yang) our hands reached out to each other, loving through our bodies and souls.

In that moment of union, all was perfection.

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A happy moment will seed ten thousand more.Notes from the Universe.

Which explains why it’s in my interest (and yours) to notice perfect moments.

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Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between. On the last Monday of each month we engage in mindfulness about something that is right with our world (NOTE: For an indefinite period, starting in March Perfect Moment Monday is moving to the Perfect Moment Project. Please tune in there with my friends Robin and Sue starting March 24). Everyone is welcome to join. To participate in Perfect Moment Monday:

  • Follow LavenderLuz.com.
  • Write up your own Perfect Moment and post it on your blog (or other site).
  • Use LinkyTools below to enter your name (or blog name), the URL of your Perfect Moment post, and a thumbnail image if desired.
  • Visit the Perfect Moments of others and let the writers know you were there with some comment currency.

With your Perfect Moment post , you may place this button on your blog (in the post, on the sidebar, or both).What Perfect Moment have you recently been aware of?


Forgiving the world

We sit on the floor in criss-cross applesauce at the beginning of yoga class, and Jane instructs us to close our eyes and remember a time during childhood when we were hurt or scared, in order to find if there are areas in which we need to release and to forgive. Her soothing voice and evocative words take each of us back to address our own personal boogeymen, troubles that loomed large because we were so small.

This won’t work, says my inner voice.  I’ve already exorcised all my demons.

I open my eyes and peek around the room, surprised that my fellow classmates are going crimson in the face as strong emotions rise from their bellies. Something powerful is going on, and if I can surrender my thoughts to my emotions, I may have the chance to release something I’ve carried for a very long time.

Hah, that’s what you think! – comes a reply, also inside my head.

With an exhale I allow my hips and tailbone to feel heavy, to sink into the earth. With an inhale I lift my spine, filling the space between my vertebrae with, well, more space. In an instant

xray childI see Mommy and Daddy walking away. I see them through the droplets of the dank and cold prison they’re leaving me in, the plastic walls and ceiling I’m sealed inside, where I’m having trouble breathing. Don’t leave me! I’ll be good! I won’t scare you any more please just don’t leave me here! I scream and still they walk away. AGAIN. Every night they leave me here. EVERY SINGLE NIGHT! They leave me here in the care of my torturers who stab me with sharp things and make me bleed and hurt me over and over again. They leave me here in a wet and cold bed. They leave me here in a place where I get only icky food. They put masks over my face  thirteen times a day and it smells bad. I am suffocating. I am so afraid and uncomfortable and….ANGRY. I am so angry at all of them for putting me here, for leaving me here.

I hate this oxygen tent. I hate the nurse who give me shots. I hate the doctor who keeps adding days and nights I have to stay here. I hate all the white, and the smell of someone they call Auntie Septy. I hate my lungs for getting New Monya again. I’m mad at my parents for leaving me behind again. I’m mad that I’m so small and powerless still. I’m mad at my body. I hate my life. HATE HATE HATE HATE!

I am shocked to meet my hate-fueled (and scared) 5 year-old self. I am amazed that I could uncover all that in about 5 mindful breaths.

Now what?

We begin our sun salutations, stretching the sides and back parts of our bodies with forward folds and crescent moons, strengthening our cores with plank pose and chaturrangas, then simultaneously grounding and lifting in downward dog. Yoga is a practice of alternating currents, of balancing opposites to bring about wholeness: right/left, upper/lower, front/back, sun/moon, rising/melting, strength/stretch, inhale/exhale, tension/release.

Antao brownd, apparently, my past and my present.

As I move through the rest of the practice, I focus on my breath. With the inhales, I abide with that scared little girl I once was. I am acutely aware of the tension in her body, the balls of wadded up anger, of densely packed fear. With my exhales, I mindfully aim to dissolve those balls of heavy energy, some still residing in my body — mainly in my lungs and hips — using my breath and intention.

The oxygen tent is where I began laying victim patterns that would serve as my template for 30+ years. It was in that cold, wet, lonely place that I realized I was at the mercy of others, that I did not control my circumstances, that I was not the subject in my life but rather an object in others’. The doctors made me endure procedures that hurt, my parents made me swallow icky medicines and stay in fearsome places, my body continually disappointed me by not functioning as it should.

I do my thing: I look at this childhood scene through a rational lens. Of course my parents weren’t persecuting me. Of course it was as hard for them to leave me each night as it was for me to be left. Of course the doctors and nurses weren’t trying to hurt me; they were trying to heal me. Of course I wasn’t abandoned; people were there to make sure I was going to be okay. Of course my body wasn’t malfunctioning on purpose; it was doing the best it could.

But the 5 year-old on my yoga mat with me is not a rational being. I have carried her emotional energy of being scared, alone, abandoned, bereft, unwell. She’s pissed. Mad at those who left her, mad at those who poked her, mad at the body that put her in her predicament. She’s been having tantrums ever since, not having an outlet for her fear and anger.

With my teacher’s invitation to dig deep and excavate what lurks beneath my awareness, I am able to give the girl a voice. I feel my face turn crimson as the anger rises from my belly. Now that I know such a well of fear and anger is there, I can access it, breathe through it, release it.

And forgive. One breath at a time.

Image courtesy of Praisaeng / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Perfect Moment Monday: Good enough?

Tessa was quite nervous to start her new school year. She hadn’t slept well the night before because she’d wrestled with demons: Would her new grade be too hard? Would she be accepted?  Would she have what she needs? Would she do the right things, wear the right things, say the right things? And the most insidious demon of all — Am I good enough?

Tessa woke up with a stomach ache and an inability to focus on getting ready.  As I walked her and her brother toward the school, I addressed her anxiety.

“Sweetie, I know that by the time you come home today, you’re going to be beaming. You’re going to tell me how wonderfully your day went, how you are so happy to be where you are. How prepared you are, how everything clicked for you.”

“Do you really think so, Mom?” she asked. “I hope you’re right but I’m afraid you won’t be.”

“I know I’m right. Mom’s know.”

And I did. Hours later, she beamed, she chattered happily as she recounted her triumphant day, things clicked for her.

My next stop was my yoga mat. After my yoga class, I planned to return to my book manuscript, due soon, the one that I’d put aside for much of the summer. In about a week I will move from the private activity of writing to the collaborative effort of editing.

The yoga teacher warmed us up and eventually guided us into Firelog pose (agnistambhasana) — a deep hip opener. I found I was tighter than usual. As I breathed through the pose, I could feel energy and matter stuck.

My demons.

Our teacher left us in the pose long enough (each side got a turn) for me to tune in to my own fears and blockages.  Like Tessa, I was afraid of making a transition, of leaving behind what was within my comfort zone and revealing myself to The New. Would my work be deemed acceptable? Would I prove to have what it takes? Would I be able to say and do the right things in this next stage of my book’s journey? Am I good enough?

Soon I will share my so-far private project with a critic — my editor. Of course, the end-step will be to share it with the world (or an adoption corner of it). My impending steps toward increased vulnerability triggered low-level anxiety, much like my daughter experienced.

I inhaled these insights and exhaled release. The tension in my hips began to soften and eventually unknot. With each breath I was able to ease more deeply into the pose.

A yoga class.At the end of class as I lay in savasana, a pose of complete relaxation and release, I experienced the perfect a-ha! moment. The words I used to calm  Tessa could also be used to calm me.  I will get this manuscript turned in. Chances are I will end up beaming and things will go wonderfully (and if not, I will deal with that). I am prepared for the next stage of my book journey and I bet I’ll be just as content and competent in my new phase as I’ve been in my old one.

I am enough.

Moms know. I know.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

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Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between.

On the last Monday of each month we engage in mindfulness about something that is right with our world. Everyone is welcome to join. The next Perfect Moment Monday event will begin September 24.

To participate in Perfect Moment Monday:

  1. Follow Write Mind Open Heart.
  2. Write up your own Perfect Moment and post for August.
  3. Use List.ly below to enter your name (or blog name) and the URL of your Perfect Moment post. You can even embed the entire list on your own post (holler if you need any help doing so).
  4. Visit the Perfect Moments of others and let the writers know you were there with some comment currency.

Once you make a Perfect Moment post , you may place this button on your blog. (Looky! Its the 2012 version, courtesy the fabulous Justine!)What Perfect Moment have you recently been aware of? Visit these moments of others and share your comment love.