Sunday, March 11, 2007

Just the girls...

One two-bedroom cabin, six girlfriends.

Late nights, heart to hearts, crafts, snuggles, play time, good food, good wine, lots of love, lots of fun & priceless memories.

Loves to you ladies. Thanks for a great weekend.


Sunday, March 4, 2007

Upside down...

Yoga has changed my life. I know, it seems like a pretty big claim, but those of you who have had a regular yoga practice of your own will understand where I'm coming from. Yoga is more than just exercise for your body. Over time, with regular practice, it changes not only how your body looks and moves, it changes your mind and your spirit...the very essence of who you are. Thanks to my regular yoga practice, I'm so much more confident with my body. I'm so much more in touch with who I am, physically and spiritually. I'm so much more accepting of the world around me. I'm so much more aware of how I impact that world and those around me. I'm more present in every moment.

Ok, I know there are those of you reading this right now rolling your eyes at this new agey, "crunchy granola" post. That's ok. This post is simply about me and my transformation, not a campaign to get you to try yoga yourself...although you really should :)

Tonight after teaching class, one in which I introduced a whole room full of relatively new beginners to the joys and challenges of doing a modified, supported handstand, I felt a bit daring and decided to try doing a headstand. After all, we were in a room (not our normal practice space) which is "carpeted" wall to wall by a 1 inch mat. The setting for comfort and safety couldn't have been better.

Now to some this may not seem like a big deal. I mean we could all do headstands as kids, right? In P.E. we all learned to make a tripod, then slowly extend our legs up into the air. Good in theory. I even knew kids who could do it. I can never remember actually being successful in performing a headstand as a kid. Be it lack of confidence, lack of strength, whatever it was, doing a headstand just never worked for me.

About 2 years ago while I was attending a yoga teacher training, we spent an afternoon working on modified inversions. Handstands, forearm balances, and headstands. When it came time to practice the headstands, even with the assistance of the wall, inside I was panicking. All I could think about were all of those failed attempts I'd experiences as a kid. I practiced and did my best to think positive thoughts about my body and it's abilities, but it was still a very uncomfortable experience and I hadn't attempted another headstand since I left that studio.

Oddly enough, it's been handstands which have been a source for building confidence for me in relationship to inversions. Handstands have helped me develop both confidence in my body's ability and a general level of comfort with being upside down. Granted, I don't practice them as often as I should, or would like to, but each time I do, I come out of the pose with a renewed sense of who I am and what I can accomplish. But even that confidence and the mental and physical strength I've gained from a regular practice over the past 4 years hadn't been enough to allow me to face my fear of a headstand. Then several weeks ago I was chatting with another yoga instructor and she was talking about how this class she had attended as a student had spend a significant amount of time practicing headstands and how thankful she was for that time to really focus on that particular pose. I initially thought, "I'm so glad I wasn't in THAT class." But ever since that conversation I've been thinking a lot about headstands and that in order to get over my anxiety, I was just going to have to start doing them!

So tonight, as students were leaving class, I just decided to do it. I went to the wall, placed my head and arms/hands and slowly moved into position kicking my legs and feet up the wall. It took 2 tries to get up, but once there I felt this wonderful sense of peace. Of accomplishment. It was a simple act physically...I mean you just go give it a try. But the mental energy at play was so much more complicated. It's true that inversion bring your physical body rewards, but this one tonight fed my spirit more than I would have ever imagined.

Was it because I felt physically ready to face (and accomplish) the challenge? Maybe. Was it because mental I felt ready to accept the outcome regardless what it was? Maybe. Whatever the reason, I'm grateful for the experience.