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Full of Shift: 30 Days of New Energy – Day 1 December 28, 2012

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Photo: Aashumi Shah

Day 1.  12/28/12

I awoke this morning at 5:15 in order to chant 108 repetitions of the “Asato Ma” prayer (“lead me from unreal to real; from darkness to light; from things that dies of, to that which is everlasting”) as the Full Moon peaked.

Yup, it’s that time again – time to utilize the tools of change in a very deliberate effort.  2012 was a fantastic year of becoming stronger on the inside and gentler on the outside.  For me, this shift is a welcome result of ongoing inner work.  Still, these days, my dreams, sensations and experiences are messaging me that something big is beginning to boil.  I hope to harness that “something” while it’s still simmering, so I can be in harmony with it, rather than subject to it.

I don’t know what this “something” is.  I have an inkling the shift is related to my Purpose (upper case “P”), and my related work.  I do know this: the night of the Winter Solstice, my heart exploded (see my last blog for details); days after, I had a dream that I dropped my future self on her head and she suffered horribly; and over the past week or so, I’ve been tripped up by surprising triggers.

So although the one-year period of late Fall 2011 through just weeks ago has yielded so much positive, this recent shakiness is not to be ignored.  I truly believe it could yield some major change for the better – as long as I stay aware of and present with the shift.

So this morning, yes, I set the shift in motion by awakening before dawn, lighting a stick of my new incense (a holiday gift, appropriately branded “New Energy”), practicing Pranayama and chanting.  And I plan to do this every morning for a month, until the next Full Moon.  As with all of my other intention “projects,” I am not trying to force a specific outcome – simply to bring New Energy to my life, to witness these shifts and to see what evolves.

*  *  *

During this morning’s meditation, a few things came clear.

I need to make immediate amends for potentially harmful words of late.  I just need to check in with some dear ones about some tongue-in-cheek remarks.  Because I aim to be non-violent, I value accountability and I desire honest, healthy and caring relationships.  Another moment of clarity – I have fallen off the yoga wagon and need to get back on with urgency.  Because yesterday’s stream of dark consciousness on Facebook exhibits that I am off-balance.  ‘Nuff said.

And – related to that – I need to seek a hormone specialist.  (Sorry guys, just sayin’.)

Among other realizations, 2012 has been an enlightening year to observe that, as I’ve aged, a very specific, monthly, 10-day time period has evolved – during which I feel as though I do and say everything wrong – and/or I feel wronged by everything others do or say.  Hmmm…  Despite being well-aware that this time period – and its chemical propensity toward miscommunication and misunderstanding – is approaching, and despite progressively increasing precautions, such as changing my diet, taking nutritional supplements, and, promising myself to stay the heck off of Facebook and away from potentially rattling situations…without fail, the unreasonable and strangely obligatory impulse to dive in, wound and be wounded wins.  Mama mia.

So yes, it’s time to seek a hormone specialist.  Because 10 days is just too much life to lose to emotional insanity!

I’m giggling at myself while scribbling this in my journal.  Ay, ay, ay – another life lesson.  Looking forward to witnessing more and more over the next 30 days…and beyond, of course!  Indeed.  I am.  Full of shift.

OM Shanti.

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Growing Pangs December 26, 2011

Filed under: Life,New Year's Resolutions,Yoga — Holly Meyers @ 10:11 pm
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Photo: Holly Meyers

“PANG: A sudden, sharp feeling.”

Last night I shut the door on The Past.  I had a sudden, sharp feeling that it was time.  So I shut that door and I shut it hard.  The Past might have gotten a shoelace caught while trying to jam its stubborn little foot in the way.  And one day in the future, that shoelace might thread its way into some pushy PTSD trigger or round of unresolved grief.  But for now, the door to The Past is shut and I’m standing on THIS side of it.  Yes, I am standing in The Present.

*  *  *

I’m not a New Year’s Resolution kind of gal.  I’m an every-day intention setter.  Still, this is a powerful time of year, as the collective conscience of most humans is evaluating the past, assessing the present and changing for the future through the process of making Resolutions.  Because the universe seems to be elbowing me into that process, I’m going with it.

My 2012 New Year’s Resolution is (drum roll please)…to heal, GROW and serve.

Same as my every day intention.

For the sake of this blog (and my personal transformation), I’m capitalizing GROW.  Because I did a lot of intense healing work in 2011.  And in order to transmute that work into being of service in the world, I need to GROW out of and up from The Past, from which I’ve had to heal.

*  *  *

Johnny Cash says: “Close the door on the past.  You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it.  You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.”

Recovery literature makes a promise: “If we are painstaking about this phase of our development…we will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.”

Which wisdom will win in my case?

I know from experience that the stakes of personal development are often pain.  Motivator/writer Kris Carr says, “Do the big maddening ouch work. The cosmic honey lives inside the pain.”  I couldn’t agree more.  In 2011, I examined The Past so I could get to the bottom of some negative patterns and start to cultivate positive alternatives.  Although the process has been painful, I have come to forgive, accept and honor my past.  After all of that examination, I don’t regret it.  In fact, I am grateful for all of its mistakes and lessons.

However, because I have been so devoted to understanding The Past, it can sometimes crowd out The Present.  Despite all the discomfort I feel while exploring it, The Past can begin to feel quite comfortable.  My dwelling on and in The Past can get so thick that it becomes a mask, and I hide behind it.  So as the Man in Black suggests, I am closing the door on it.

*  *  *

Surrender the mask.
Pour out the drink. Put down the gun. Unclench your fists. Stop your running.
Surrender the mask.
Turn off the TV. Say so long to the sugar. Flush the pills. Abandon the computer.
Surrender the mask.
You will be loved. You will be safe. You will be true. You will be whole.
Surrender the mask.
Love will feel strange. Safety risky. Truth bewildering. Wholeness scary.
Life will feel messy. Because you will be feeling.
It will be worth it. (We promise.) Because we are all healing.
Surrender the mask.

*  *  *

I get a little stuck in my story sometimes.  The sad, sad story of The Past and the sad, sad places it has taken my family and me.  The story includes many traumatic events.  It includes destructive patterns that led to horrible decisions that led to dangerous, harmful and/or painful consequences.

My story is sad.  But I am not.  Because I am not my story.

I consider myself a happy person.  I’ve said it before, I know.  And it’s true.  Small things bring me great joy.  Even in the midst of a big, fat grump-fest, if I hear a child laugh, or see a leaf float down from a tree, or learn of someone else’s good fortune, I immediately feel happy.

I love to smile.

It’s in my cells, the fiber of my being, to be happy.  I feel most comfortable with inner peace and shining light.  As you may have read, I recently went to battle with “an annoyingly encroaching emotional darkness” during my 100-day ritual, “The Happy Heart Project.”  During that period, I had to face some hard truths about my past, my now and my future.  I re-learned the value of examining and assessing and transforming.  Yup, just like our New Year’s Resolution process.  And just like my daily intention to heal, GROW, serve.

At the same time, I learned something new.  The Past serves an important role in informing The Present; but it can be downright traumatic in itself to get stuck there.  Hence the growing pangs.

Time to get unstuck.  I am not my story.  I am not The Past.

*  *  *

Getting back to last night.  I was crying out of frustration.  An old, familiar dissatisfaction.  The habitual complaint of, “When will anything change?”  Boo-hoo-hoo…and then, PANG!  It hit me like a ton of bricks.  I HAVE CHANGED.  Life has changed.  Everything has changed!  I stopped crying.  I stepped through the door and shut it behind me.  With a powerful, physical sensation, I felt myself standing in my now-ness.  Finally recognizing its amazing people, enriching practices, time-tested talents, joyful activities, defining values.

The now is new.  The now is wow!

As I planted my feet in The Present, I saw that all is waiting.  All is waiting!

*  *  *

I have been dreaming about my teachers.  Family members, yoga instructors, favorite bloggers, authors and others.  A few weeks ago, I dreamed that one of my yoga instructors was reminding me to be teachable.  In another recent dream, my whole family (of origin) was moving to New Orleans.  We were driving in an old station wagon.  I’d had my head phones on for most of the ride, listening to music.  When I noticed it was raining pretty hard, I turned off the music and asked, “You doing OK up there, Dad?”  My sister corrected me, “It’s Mom driving.”  And just last night (after the big shift), I dreamed I was with a yoga instructor whose writing and ideology inspires me.  We were climbing.  He was new to this path and I was leading the way.  I felt eager, awake, on-fire.  Excited to get to the top and share the view that had rocked my world so many times before.

Clearly, it’s time to move onward and upward, and to see what’s in the distance – instead of constantly looking back over my shoulder.

Welcome, 2012.

*  *  *

OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.  Peace, Peace, Peace.

 

Focus Wrap Up: Back to Basics February 2, 2011

Over the weekend I taught the final classes in our January Back to Basics focus. To complement our fine-tuning of alignment, review of three-part breathing and return to proper resting, these last sessions invited students to deepen their commitment to setting an intention.

Personally, I can’t imagine getting on the mat without exploring some kind of purpose for my practice.  To set an intention, I like to let the thoughts naturally flow through my mind while arriving, and see which one most strongly asks for my attention – it might even be a thought that’s been tapping me on the shoulder for a few days.  Maybe weeks!  Or longer!  Then I shape that thought into a dedication, affirmation or reflection.

Using the three-part Deergha Swaasam breath, I deepen my reflection by imagining filling with intention on the inhale, and simple resting with it on the exhale.  Later in my set, during the internal focus and natural surrender of seated forward folds, I inhale to fill with intention, and exhale to surrender (dissolve and let go of) any obstacles (distractions, old stories, self-imposed limitations) that might stand in the way of realizing my intention.  And I reconnect with my intention before settling into Yoga Nidra – a process of deep relaxation, between a state of sleep and consciousness.

Although I’ve been shying away from the word “resolution” this new year, I will say that having a Sankalpa (a firm, prayerful, resolved intention) during my time on the mat makes a huge difference in my practice, my day and my life. Different traditions approach Sankalpa with unique perspectives – for example, setting a Sankalpa during Yoga Nidra so this process of yogic sleep helps us realize that intention; belief that Sankalpa can erase negative Samskara (imprints on or patterns in our lives); or using Pratipaksha Bhavana (replacement of negative thoughts with positive) to create a resolution.

There’s that word again!  Resolution.

I can’t escape it – if I am going to reflect deeply on intention, I must have resolve.  So I’ll try to ease up on my anti-resolution attitude!  Your encouragement is always helpful; I’m not the only teacher around here.

I hope you’ve found something useful during this Back to Basics month of reviewing and fine tuning Asana, Pranayama, Yoga Nidra and Sankalpa practice.  Looking forward to starting a 9-month look at the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and the Eight Limbs beginning in February!

Wishing you peace, joy, love and light.  OM Shanti.

P.S. Remember, the fine-tuning tips for Asana and Pranayama that I’ve taught over the past month can be found on the Tips-n-Tools tab of this blog.  Enjoy!

 

January Focus: Back to Basics January 26, 2011

Luscious.

That’s how I would describe, in one word, the yoga class I just took with veteran Asana teacher Sandy Kavalier up the street from my apartment at Yoga Chai (http://www.yogachai.com/).  Breathing emphasis and mechanical cues.  Nothing more, nothing less.   My hips feel heavenly, my arms stronger, my shoulders intact, my lungs larger.  My entire body is vibrating with fresh oxygen.  My mind feels serene.  What a gift.

The focus in my yoga classes this month is Back to Basics. After a few months of conceptual themes (“Abundance,” “Yoga in Action,” “Why Yoga?”), we are returning to the nuts and bolts of Asana, Pranayama and Yoga Nidra.  And after a few months of almost completely abandoning my own personal yoga practice due to end of year busy-ness, I myself am enjoying those nuts and bolts at home, and in classes like Sandy’s.

I’m noticing that many studios around town (Yoga District, The Studio DC, and more) are featuring fundamentals and basics classes, most likely in answer to the abundance of New Year’s resolutions to start practicing yoga.  I know that Kelly’s “Virgin Yoga” class at Past Tense brought some newbies into our mix!

So welcome newbies and experienced yogis alike! There’s nothing like fine-tuning to awaken a long-standing practice or to start a new practice off on the right foot.

For more on the Principles of Alignment and Pranayama, please check out the Tips-n-Tools tab of this blog.  More later!

OM Shanti.

 

Focus Wrap Up: Abundance January 1, 2011

You say you want a resolution?

What if,
instead of making New Year’s resolutions,
we simply decided
to make space
for whatever comes along?

*  *  *

What’s the 1st thing that comes to mind when I say “Abundance?”

A lot. Having. Fullness.

And?

Less is more. Giving. Spaciousness.

Huh?

Yup.

*  *  *

Great respect and admiration to all the yogis who explored the other side of Abundance in our Class Focus over December. I will wrap up reflection by re-posting a section of the 1st post on Abundance earlier in the month (below).

Happy New Year, y’all.  May your resolutions be thrown out the window! OM Shanti.

*  *  *

The following quote from writer and yoga teacher Max Strom popped up on Facebook recently; and it reminded me to make space for an abundance of anything. If I cultivate space (vs. holding back or holding in or holding tight), I can see that even the unexpected or “unwanted” can bring contentment. I must remember – if happiness does not manifest immediately, more will be revealed.

“We hold back from life so much. We literally refuse happiness because we demand to have it in a certain way – and this precludes our getting it.” ~ Max Strom