Tag Archives: yoga

Beauty is all around you. Don’t miss it.

Yoga class this morning, and this was the instructor’s instruction to us. It’s something I know. Something (I think) I practice. And something I can stand to be reminded of again and again and again.

And again.

There is so much pain and suffering in the world. There is so much to look at that is, or at least can be, upsetting. I could find reasons to be in pain and anguish in lives around me, and in my own life as well.

And there is so much beauty. It’s there for me to see, if I’ll just notice it.

It doesn’t mean the awful isn’t awful. It doesn’t mean I’m slapping a smiley face on the things that hurt, and suck, and need to be changed. It doesn’t mean I’m not going to fight the good fights and change what I can – in myself, my life, and my world.

It just means that in the midst of that fight, in the midst of every day, I can stop and notice. And notice again. I can literally and figuratively smell the roses.

It’s the sun shining again after a storm. Laughter with my friends of decades, as we eat a fine dinner looking over the ocean, with fireworks exploding behind us. It’s running into a good friend whom I haven’t seen for too long, and having a few minutes at a high school football game, as we even won the game. It’s the horde of yellow birds I saw not once but twice today.

I can pay attention to all the wonder and splendor and glory and love that surrounds me. Or I can not.

Beauty is all around you. Beauty is all around me. Don’t miss it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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Take up as much space as you can

That was the direction from our yoga instructor this morning. “Take up as much space as you can.” She was guiding us into straight leg triangle – Utthita Trikonasana – and wanted us to expand, expand, expand our bodies. “Take up as much space as you can,” she offered.

I did. I eased, and eased further, into the pose, while I also thought back to a friend of mine from years ago, from my 12-step programs. She too was a recovering anorexic, and she used to explain her starving herself as a way to take up as little space as possible. She had felt too huge, too much (she was anything but) and wanted to shrink herself. To disappear, if possible.

That is our disease. It tells us to retreat. To get smaller. To diminish ourselves in any way possible. If we’re less, we won’t get noticed. If we ask for less, and need less, we won’t be disappointed, and we won’t get in trouble.

I like taking up as much space as I possibly can much, much more.

Extending myself in my yoga practice helps me claim my place in the world. Extending ourselves in the world helps us show up more…and show up more as ourselves.

Take up space. Breathe deep. Laugh loudly (and often). Call attention to yourself and affirm your spot in the universe. Confirm your being – and the essential nature of your being.

I think back to my friend who tried to shrink herself to oblivion, and I hear my yoga instructor’s invitation to expand ourselves, even past our so-called limits. I’m pretty certain that many, if not all, of us deserve to take up more space and live in more love and joy.

Take up as much space as you can.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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I laughed out loud in yoga

We were in Malasana pose, the squat pose, and the instructor “suggested” we take our left arms and wrap them around our left legs towards our backs, and then wrap our right arms around our backs until we could bind, or clasp, our hands. Before I could stop myself, I laughed out loud.

The instructor laughed with me.

As many of you know, I’ve been practicing yoga for years. Decades really. I guess there’s a reason they call it practicing, because there are some poses I still can’t (read that as probably never will) do. And a bound Malasana is one of them.

I’ve come to believe that my muscles are too tight, which maybe I could work on and “fix.” And that my arms are too short, which I can’t. Either way you look at it, there are poses I can’t do (or as I’ve learned to say in my Positive Psychology certification course, I can’t do yet). And again, a bound Malasana is one of them.

I’ve also come to believe that, as always, acceptance is the answer to all my problems, and I’ve come to accept – fully accept – that the pose is fully beyond my capabilities (again, at least for now).

So what, you ask? So what does this have to do with life? No surprise, again it’s about acceptance. Just today I once again explained to someone that I’ve come to believe – to learn – that whenever I push or try or resist, whatever I’m resisting gets stronger. But when I accept, I somehow find ease. Maybe if I accept that I can’t bind in Malasana, I will one day be able to bind in Malasana.

The second lesson for me? The joy, and freedom, of laughter. The sheer impossibility of the bind made me laugh. Out loud. And my laughter spawned laughter from the instructor and throughout the 6am class. If I can’t laugh at myself, life will be way, way too long. And too hard. Laughter yields ease. Laughter strengthens connection and community. Laughter brings joy.

I laughed out loud in my yoga class, and next time the instructor “suggests” some such bind, chances are that if I’m not minding my reaction, I’ll laugh again.

Namaste

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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