|Me doing one of my favorite poses at The Lab - Mayurasana!|
It's funny how obstacles have been catalysts for so many positive changes in my life. I remember taking a few yoga classes about 5 years ago and the practice just did not interest me. At the time I thought I needed a form of exercise that would give me a better cardio workout - boy has my opinion changed! But, I am getting ahead of myself.
So fast forward 5 years later. I had just experienced a third miscarriage and was a bit of a mess both physically and emotionally. My holistic doc/acupuncturist/spiritual therapist kept telling me that I needed to be more present in my body and not stuck in my head. You can imagine how difficult it was not to overanalyze something that had failed time and time again, but I was determined to learn from this experience in a more visceral way. And as if on cue, the Universe sent me a sign in the form of a flyer. Steve Duke, a fabulous saxophonist and feldenkrais practitioner, had slipped a notice about a feldenkrais workshop through my mail slot (we both have studios in the Fine Arts Building). To my utter amazement it happened to fall on a Saturday morning that I had off - a pretty rare occurrence in my schedule - and I immediately signed up! As fate would have it I was the only one who turned up for the workshop, which ended up being a 2 1/2 hour private session with Steve. And this is when my appreciation for the feldenkrais method began. It was also the beginning of my body awareness journey.
Shortly after my first session with Steve, the Universe sent me another sign in the form of a living social deal for yoga classes at The Lab. I went to my first class not really knowing what to expect and left totally hooked! I could not believe yoga had not interested me before, but I suppose that's the beauty of being awakened. And perhaps it was the combination of years spent with my holistic doc developing a connection with my inner spirit, going vegan, feldenkrais sessions with Steve, The Lab's awesome teachers and its unique yoga style that all contributed to this newfound love. One might say yoga came into my life to put everything else into perspective.
Since becoming an aspiring yogi 6 months ago, yoga has helped me feel more grounded and centered, upped my Yin (I have an excess of Yang) and continued to open my mind to my true potential. It has also helped me continue to develop my "power of unconditional acceptance." And I believe yoga has been the glue that has helped me piece myself back together as I continue to heal from the inside out.
When I practice yoga I have such a huge sense of love for myself and gratitude for life. At the end of each practice I set the following intention for myself:
"My intention is to do the best that I am able with every offering of this day and keep my eyes open to the seen and unseen."
So many other aspects of my life have also been enriched by my yoga practice. For instance, my cello playing and teaching have benefited greatly because I feel there is no piece or technical problem I cannot play or solve - when you begin to master complex yoga poses that require great amounts of stamina and coordination, it reaffirms anything is possible if you simply set your mind to it. And of course my relationship with Andrew has blossomed, too. He has even attended a few classes with me at The Lab. It was wonderful having him in class and sharing in something that means so much to me. And his determination and openness to moving his body in ways he had never done before really impressed me - especially the fact that he had no fear at all when it came time to work on handstands!
I would like to give a special thanks to Carmen Aguilar for her creation of cYoga and let her know that I have thoroughly enjoyed our enlightening conversations at The Lab. And many thanks to all my teachers who keep me in awe of this artful discipline and constantly challenge me: Nick, Soren, Moises and Claire. Most weeks I attend 4 yoga classes at The Lab and practice 2 times each week on my own at the gym - this is my version of balance.
Below are some yoga-related quotes that resonate with me. Namaste.
“Yoga practice can make us more and more sensitive to subtler and subtler sensations in the body. Paying attention to and staying with finer and finer sensations within the body is one of the surest ways to steady the wandering mind.”
~ Ravi Ravindra
“Exercises are like prose, whereas yoga is the poetry of movements. Once you understand the grammar of yoga; you can write your poetry of movements.”
~ Amit Ray
"When we get out of alignment with Spirit and we try to make or expect life to be something different than it really is, suffering happens. We all experience pain and suffering, but it is not the quintessential nature of life. Just because the earth turns away from the sun and night occurs doesn't mean that the sun isn't always shining. It might be hard to see sometimes, but goodness and divine beauty can always be found if you adjust your vision just right."
~ John Friend
“No art takes places without inspiration. Every artist also needs effective knowledge of his or her tools (e.g., does a certain brush function well with a particular kind of paint?). What’s more, artists need effective techniques for using those tools.
Likewise, to express ourselves skillfully with maximum efficiency and minimum effort, we need to investigate the most effective ways of using the mind and body since, in the end, they are the only “tools” we truly possess in life.”
~ H. E. Davey
"Practice love until you remember that you are love."
~ Swami Sai Premananda