I’ve been thinking a lot about my blog title as I’m sure you have too :). Overall I feel really good about the Quinoa and Kale part, although I do owe you a few more kale recipes but that’s for another day. Right now it’s the exhale part that’s got me bothered.
When I started this blog I sort of resigned myself to allowing my MindBodyGreen articles and occasionally talking about going to or teaching a class to cover the exhale/yoga but I’m starting to think it’s not enough. I spend so much of my day reading, thinking about, practicing, and teaching the exhale part that it seems sort of odd not to talk more about it.
The problem is my own low self-esteem when it comes to yoga. I have been practicing for many years and although there is more to learn (side note: there is always more yoga to learn), I feel fairly confident in my own asana (or physical) practice. Unless of course I get around Michael’s sister-in-law who officially has no spine and makes me feel like an 80-year-old woman, though that’s besides the point.
But you see, the physical practice is only one of the eight limbs of Patanjali’s yoga and its main purpose is to set you up for a meditation practice, which I’m still struggling with. And then there are six other limbs that I am only now beginning to explore. Plus, the philosophy and the history and the ancient texts and the teachings and the chants I know some of the words to but not the meanings of, and, and, and you can see that I know very little about all of this and I don’t want to seem like a big, fat fraud.
Though the more I contemplate it the more my gut keeps telling me not to shy away. I have learned something about yoga, however little that might be, and I think there are some really valuable lessons to be shared. Everyday concepts that are easy for anyone to grasp, not only those who have dedicated their lives to the practice or live in ashrams or even those who’ve step onto a mat. So I’m going to do my best to cast aside my egoist fears and start talking a little bit more about what I now do for a living and my own personal journey with yoga. Everything may not be 100% correct but it will be 100% heart-felt and genuine to my life, practice and experiences.
Now that we have that out of the way, yesterday I read the following quote from Eastern Body, Western Mind and it struck a chord with me, especially in this time of technology obsession (btw, I have that too)!
“Disconnection from the body is a cultural epidemic. Of all the losses rupturing the human soul today, this alienation may be the most alarming because it separates us from the very roots of existence. With jobs that are degrading, routines that are automatic and environments that annihilate our senses, we lose the joy that arises from the dynamic connection with the only presence we are guaranteed to have for the whole of our lives: our body. To lose our connection with the body is to become spiritually homeless. Without an anchor we float aimlessly, batter by the winds and waves of life.”
I shared this quote in one of my classes last night and asked that my students stay really present in their bodies for the full 75 minutes, not letting their minds run off to their to-do lists and dinner plans, not setting themselves to autopilot. Of course, this was more easily applicable to a yoga class but what about everyday life?
Can we be a bit more present in our own bodies? Can we set aside the constant stimulation of technology and just be, even if for a minute or two? Can we take a moment to scan our own bodies to see how we really feel? Especially this time of year when we’re supposed to be cheerful, joyful, all holiday’d up, is it possible to be honest with ourselves about how we’re really feeling and be okay with whatever emotion comes up? Can we breathe a little more fully? Eat a little more slowly?
As I mentioned, I’m guilty of neglecting all of the above as well. So this morning I took Eli out for an extra long walk. I left my cell phone at home. I took a couple of deep breaths into the December sun, I gave my dog my full attention and my body a little time away from a glaring screen. Of course I’m back here typing but I offer this up as a simple reminder. Do with it as you please.
And if you read this far (bless you), check out this amazing story from a blog I came across yesterday, it’s a true depiction of the holiday spirit.
Happy weekend all and with a new sign off…
Enjoy and Exhale!