Valentine’s Day. Yoga. Healing.

Valentine’s Day Yoga, that’s what I called yesterday.  All day I reminded myself that I had somewhere special to go after work.  Some where that I would feel unconditional love.  People who love me for me, not for my past, my present, nor my future.  They love me for who I am that moment in time as we all gather on our mats.

Valentine’s day has always been hard for me, even when I had a “Valentine”, but this year I noticed I wasn’t down.  I wasn’t angry.  I wasn’t unhappy for others.  I was okay with it because I’ve realized, through yoga, that this has been my decision.  My decision to be sad on this happy day.  My decision was to be happy for everyone.

I blame this completely on yoga and the fact that it has made be take responsibility for ALL of my decisions.  I’ve chosen not to have a Valentine (for personal reasons, I still am working on!).  I’ve chosen to no longer project my decision on those who are happily involved with their someone special.  I’ve chosen.  I’ve chosen.  My decisions.

This is what my yoga practice is teaching me.  When I hit the mat, it’s all about me!  When I emerge from the mat, I am responsible for my decisions – past, present, and future – not a family member(s), not my neighbor, not someone I loved, not my co-workers, not my yoga guide, not my yoga community.  Again, it’s all about MY decisions, and all decisions – good and bad – have consequences. Those consequences can build me up or destroy me.  They can be building blocks or stumbling blocks.  I, now, choose for them to be building blocks.  I’ve allowed my past to destroy me, cause me be stumble and stay down, but no more.

At my altar of prayer, I finally know I’ll meet my Jesus.  I know I can allow myself to be forgiven for my past and work toward my future.  Yoga has taught me that!

Remember, yoga isn’t about what a man or woman teaches you, it’s about what you learn from within.  Your heart’s guide. For me, my guide is Jesus Christ.  I can finally stop punishing myself mentally and let Him have it. (This coming from a preachers daughter and a saint on the pew.  My dad would be so proud, but I think I’ll keep this between us. Smile.)

What has yoga taught you?

Namaste!

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Jess this one’s for you…

I woke this morning to below freezing temps.  And as I was getting ready to feed the chickens, I heard something pelting off of the tin.  DANG it was sleet!  Really?!?!?!?!?!?!?!  Jess I completely blame you for this ‘inclement’ weather. ROFLMBO! I braved the sleet with an umbrella in one hand and a feed bucket in the other.  Really, my right hand was froze by the time I had fed all the chickens.  It’s snowy, sleety, and rainy days I think about selling ALL my chickens, then I remember their wonderful eggs and just can’t do it.

Nick posted the radar on facebook this morning, and I think we are dodging the bullet, but everyone from Jackson, NE are getting sleet and snow.  And we are warming up, so no snow for us.  You gotta get up really early Jess to send it this far south, grin.

I’m praying you guys warm up, so you’ll stop projecting weather our way, laugh.

I miss you and praying the weather warms up so you guys will have a wonderful time at The Abbey.  At least students will have a different story to tell than the previous classes.

Oh, I can’t remember how to do my scarf like you do.  I just have absolutely no memory.  You think you can manage to put the direction on FB via video for all to have?  Maybe a demo of how to do you scarf the way Melissa likes it done?  Smile.

Love and miss you Jess!

"Intense" bow pose…

Last night, I forewent the 1st ever Hattiesburg Mardi Gras parade to join the other yoga faithfuls in our quest for backbends this month.

As we started practice, all seemed to go smoothly, then Tammy decided to show us a few different ‘ways’ to do bow pose.  One, with the thighs on the ground, heart lifted high; and second, with the legs lifted high and the heart of the ground.

Well after she demonstrated this, I gave her another one of my “have you lost it” looks and she walked over and I said “I can’t do that!” (I know, I said I wasn’t going to say that in yoga class, well I failed, but I’ll do better next time!) She said “I’ll help you or do you just not want to try?”  Now, I was being and ninny, and I admitted it out loud in class, but when Tammy says that, it’s more of a “she’s challenging me” and everyone who knows me, knows I’m always up for a good, healthy challenge.  I said “No, I’ll try it.  I’m just being a ninny.”  Everyone laughed, but it was true.  My body was hurting, my head wasn’t feeling too well, and for the last few days I’ve been having shooting pains in my neck, so I wasn’t to enthused about doing it.  So, in the pose I went, Tammy pushed my feet down, I pushed against her and up I came, BAM!, just like that.  I was impressed.  Then Tammy says, “Look at Melissa everyone, she’s doing it!”  I started laughing and then had to come out of it.  The minute my head hit the floor (not literally), I took a headache above my eyes, across my forehead. I knew that wasn’t good, but I finished out the class and headed home, but not before we did another ‘wild thing’.  Those are contagious!  If you don’t believe me, try one! You’ll be in heaven, not because of the pose, but because you can DO the pose.  (Or maybe it’s just me…hmmm.)

The headache was gone by the time I left the class, I made sure of it ’cause I hate to drive with those kind of headaches with lights hitting me in the eyes.  It’ll bring on a migraine in a heartbeat.

Once home, I told my sister what caused the headache.  For a minute I thought she was going to beat me up.  I received a full minute of lecture before I could get her to shut up long enough for me to say “I DIDN’T CURL MY NECK BACK!”  She stopped and said ok.  If you didn’t curl your neck back, then it wasn’t caused by pinching your neck worse.  She said I was probably holding my breath or was extremely tense and those three big veins across your forehead are attached to the spine, which is attached to everything else, so next time I’m to breathe more and ‘relax’.  I laughed and said “relax in that pose, you really were not watching when I showed you, were you?”  She laughed and said “I’d better be careful or she’d tell my soon to be neck surgeon of my wild yoga poses”.  As if I’m scared of her (I sure hope she doesn’t find this yoga blog, grin)!

The body is sore, but my tummy isn’t as sore as I expected it to be, so that’s a plus.  (I’m sure it’ll sneak up on me tomorrow, as I try to sit up in bed!)

Babysitting tonight for my brother, so no home practice tonight.  I’ll do it tomorrow, when my body has had time to really be sore from last night…laugh.

Namaste!

Breathe. Be.

Utthan Pristhasana (Lizard Pose).  We had two new yogis in class last night and when Tammy started, I was like, yeah, this is going to be an easy class. WRONG! What was I thinking?!

I’m learning that Tammy is compassionate, but when it comes to yoga poses, beginner or advanced, she ‘pushes you off the cliff’ and you fly.  It’s that easy….  I managed to sweat almost as much as if we hadn’t had the two new people.  Then she said “we are all going to do Utthan Pristhasana, lizard pose”.  I looked up like she had lost her mind ’cause I know lizards and I know how they walk and stretch.  I knew we were in for a challenging pose.

I was right!  Now see the pose in the picture?  Now, put your right hand on your right thigh, rotate your torso to the right.  Now, put your hand on your hip and get deep into the stretch, then raise your right hand toward the sky and lead with your heart.  Hmmm, my right leg, at the crease, was hurting so badly that I could barely move out of the pose once it was over.

I know, I overlooked my own rule, no pain, just to the edge….

I just knew I’d be so sore in my groin this morning, but nope.  My legs feel good!  And to that note, Tammy is so good!  Laugh.

I think those who enter a yoga studio are walking to the edge and giving the instructor permission to push them off the edge to allow them to fly because they (the student) don’t have the nerve to do it themselves.

Yoga requires one to stand on the edge, breathe, be present, and then push off that edge.

Flight is freedom!  Flight is joy!  Flight is the chance to see what is below you, behind you and what lies ahead.

Namaste!

Wild thing…

I DID THIS POSE! It’s called the “wild thing”, and we have been working on this pose every Thursday in January (along with other poses), but I managed to do it!  I didn’t stay in it for very long, a few breaths, but I DID IT!

If you would’ve asked me if I would ever do this pose when we first started working on it, I would’ve laughed in your face.  Not only did I do this, pose, but I also did the pose leading into it, side plank, which of course I didn’t stay in and fell out of a few times, but I’m getting there.  I’m actually getting there! And you know it’s true, as I learn I can do these poses with dedication, hard work and determination, I’m learning, I can do anything.  Yoga is definitely working on healing my lack of self-esteem.

You know, I must stop here and give props to someone who first introduced me to yoga, Holly Hudson.  She never pushed, always let her yoga light shine, and always answered questions when I had them.  Then I found myself in one of her classes at the Payne Center, and the rest, may we say is history.  Thank you Holly!  If it weren’t for you, I would’ve never tried yoga, and I would never be on this path I’m currently on.  You were always a rock, and I’m sure you still are…smile.

Now back to this blog, my arms are sore (killing me more like it), but I did it.  I’ve yet to master the ‘nose bleed’ pose as someone in our class has dubbed it, or the sugar cane pose (don’t quote me on that one) but after my wild thing pose, I was too tired and shaking and couldn’t stay in the nose bleed pose, so I caved and went into child’s pose and tried to bring my heart rate down.

I was a sweaty mess when I left, but I was in hog heaven (why do we say that phrase?), anyway, my monkey brain at work. I went straight home and showed my parents what I could do.  My mom almost had a fit, due to my neck, but my sister assured her that I was protecting my neck and I was fine, it would actually help my neck.  It would stretch me and allow oxygen into the slipped disc.

I think, no I know, last night’s class was an eye opener for me.  I may not have a skinny body anymore, but I can teach my body to do whatever yoga pose I’m taught.  It may take me longer, but I can do it.

I CAN do it….

Namaste!

Serenity and Peace

Yoga class last night was a test of ‘ahimsa’ and serenity, to say the least.

Our class was interrupted by a person and our instructor (my new guru, she just doesn’t know it yet, grin) handled the situation with a ‘do unto others as you would have others do unto you’ attitude, with a smile on her face.

We were not so forgiving of the situation, but Tammy allowed us time to voice our opinion, then she re-started class, and off we went.

For those who know me, know I can not just ‘let things go’, especially when I know we’ve been wronged.  So for the rest of the practice, Tammy made us sweat.  The serenity class was out the window, she was determined to get our minds off of what had happened, or so that’s my opinion because I was sweating like pig on a barbie, geez can I sweat!

Every pose was a challenge for me.  I was either shaking or second guessing being in the pose correctly, or I was falling out of the pose.  Why you ask?  Because I was reeling from the situation Tammy had been put in.

I was amazed that a person who calls themselves a Christian could just think he was entitled and us yogis didn’t matter.  Did he not realize that in that studio were Christians as well, and he had made an ass of himself?  Did he not realize that he wasn’t doing the work of his Father?

As we were leaving, I had made it up in my mind I was going to post a scripture and verse on his vehicle to remind him of his Christian responsibilities, and as I was getting in my car one of the guys who does yoga with us, I won’t name out of respect because most people don’t like to be identified without permission, said “Remember, serenity and peace.”  We both laughed.  I got in my car, shut my door, and left his actions for God to reprimand.

So the next time you do something to someone, ask yourself, “is my light shining?”, or have I turned it off in order to perform a certain task, and then turn it back on when I’ve completed that task.

Serenity and peace, two ‘ideals’ that I find extremely hard to grasp hold of and hang on to. My prayer is with time, I’ll learn.  I’ll learn from those who are teaching and guiding me, one of those people being my yoga teacher, Tammy.

Until next time, may serenity and peace be with you.

Namaste!