My First Blog Post

How to be graceful on the inside

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

I like to start each class with a quote. Today’s came from the book Be More Unicorn: how to find your inner sparkle by Joanna Gray. We all know these are tumultuous times, that are continually changing. The book gives a short list of 5 things to engender grace. Here goes…1) be kind: less bitter, more glitter, 2) be caring: dare to care, 3) be forgiving: move on, be strong, 4) be magnanimous: in victory, grace, and 5) be polite: more clout, don’t shout. Which one or ones speak to you?

“Rest is not idleness”

“Rest is not idleness & to lie sometimes on the grass, under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” So wrote John Lubbock. 

What can we do to better allocate our precious energies? This quote reminds me of Brahmacharya, the Sanskrit word for Conservation of Energy. This is one of the Yamas, or avoidances, in the Yoga Sutras. These are the essential principles outlined as techniques and experiences along our journeys.

How lovely is it to grab a book and a big glass of your favorite beverage, sink into a cozy chair, and get lost in a book? If reading isn’t your thing, a meandering walk through the woods, or neighborhood, solo or with a friend. What do you do to veg?

Why on *earth* would anyone skip out on Savasana, or the final relaxation pose that happens in most Yoga classes? This is, by some estimations, THE most important Yoga asana, or pose, of them all. This is where your body, mind, and spirit rejuvenate, and you can integrate the benefits of your practice. Skipping is like having a nice dinner, and not having dessert. Or skipping sprinkles on a sundae. 

While it’s understandable that so many of us are overbooked, overworked, and overwhelmed, this is a vital part of one’s practice. Why not reevaluate, and look at what you can forgo, to free up those precious few moments to literally DO NOTHING? Not to weasel out of requirements or be that friend/partner, but to refill your own cup, and be your best self. If your schedule is that tight, perhaps it’s time to revisit things. 

Note: no judgement, but if you do have to leave, make sure you’re by the door, and you leave quickly and quietly, hopefully having advised the teacher first. 

How do you spend your energy? Is it scrolling aimlessly through your various social media platforms? Is it on housework? Is it on self-improvement? Parenting? Adulting? Hitting the gym, hard? All of these have their place, but the axiom says everything in moderation. We’re hard-wired to be social beings, just figure out what works best for you. 

To make laziness work for you, put some effort into it | Aeon Ideas
Just a cat, catting. Laziness isn’t bad!

Please feel free to comment below. Until our mats unfurl again, be well!

How to kill a cactus

I’ve always had a pretty green thumb. Pretty sure it’s partially inherited, since my Dad kept & keeps lots of plants and had a beautiful fish tank when we grew up, whereas my poor Mom could kill a plastic plant. My partner built me two great big garden beds, which are overflowing with produce and pretty flowers. 

In my Yoga & meditation room, I have a few varieties of plants: pothos, a money tree, and some succulents. Side note: all cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti. But, I digress…

The other day, while watering the plants, I noticed my poor cactus’ stem (trunk?) was brown. Upon touching it, it kinda exploded. As brownish goo oozed out, I cried out, “Nooooooo!” It was upsetting, to be sure, but it begat some thoughts. The yellow tops looked okay, so into the dirt they went. (Here’s hoping!) 

How does this pertain to Yoga? For me, this is me not observing Santosha, the Sanskrit word for Contentment. The cactus was in a pot with another succulent, which seemed to like more water. I was not happy to let it be, but it tried to force it into a different watering schedule. The plant felt discontentment; I wasn’t paying attention. 

How can this be incorporated or integrated into our everyday lives, on and off the mat? How can we be “okay” with what is? The cactus notwithstanding, it doesn’t mean to give up and resign ourselves to “it is what it is.” How can we recognize situations as they are, and not try to fit them into our narrative? How can we respect the cactus for not being thirsty, or for a friend for not wanting to chat? 

For me, it means treating people how *they* wish to be treated, which contradicts the Golden Rule. The cactus wanted less water. The owner, yours truly, wanted to give it a good drink, as would a parent who knows when you’re thirsty. How can the cactus be met where it’s at? 

Note: this is before I came along 😦

How does this show up in your life? How can we practice contentment? Feel free to comment below! 

“The day I get home…”

Today’s quote is from the band Squeeze, the album Play: “it’s experience, as the days unfold, but there’s nothing quite like the day I get home”. They were popular in the 90’s, so this is me dating myself :). What does “home” even mean? Is it a building? Is it a feeling? Is it where they have to take you in? Even though you may have four walls and a roof of your very own (well, yours and the bank’s, that is), what if you can’t put your feet up ‘cuz everything’s sheathed in plastic, including the faux candy in the dish? Alternatively, you can crash on a friend’s couch and be told to “make yourself at home,” and get that sense where you can sigh with relief – you’ve arrived.

What makes a house a home? Some say a house is a structure, and a home is a feeling. Is it a dog, or other fur-baby? (Three cats & a rabbit is the sitcom that is my life.) Is it a partner waiting for you? Is it being able to eat the last Oreo in your altogether, and not do the dishes ’til you’re on the last one/s? There was a poignant commercial once where they referred to a house key as “precious metal.”

Our experiences shape us: the good, the bad & the ugly. What will you do with your experiences? How will you take them home? I’d love to hear if this quote resonates with you! What does “home” mean to YOU? Thank you for reading.

Until our mats unfurl again…