This morning I lay in bed musing about the day, knowing that the longer I stayed under the covers, the less likely I was to roll out the mat. So I got up and looked at my yoga space – filled with mail that needed to be opened, a dog leash begging to be used, and a suitcase that lay stuffed and ready for unpacking.
It was tempting. First I’ll clean off the counter, put away all this stuff so I can set my drishti on a clear, uncluttered space. I could just take care of the mail rather than let it sit. If I’m moving the suitcase, I may as well unpack and throw a load of laundry in before I start. Then the dog is up and looking my way, ready for a walk.
That’s how it goes some mornings. The mat stays rolled up in the corner while a bunch of other things on the list get done. I want to make things as close to ideal as I can in order to practice. I want to clear the space, so I can clear my mind. I want a home studio that looks like the ones in the magazine. But at what cost? It’s not helping me to skip my practice until it can look perfect.
This morning I set up my mat amidst the chaos. The room was a mess. My body ached and my waistline spoke of too much Christmas pie. My nose was stuffed up and I couldn’t pranayam my way out of a paper bag, but I did it. I got down in chaturanga with elbows as close to 90-degrees as I can get them. My trikonasana was crooked, but existent. And it was good.
When I was a little girl, I hated missing school. I was a pretty high strung kid and I was afraid I’d never catch up on what I’d missed. Even when I was feeling sick, I didn’t want to skip. My mom would bring me with her on errands and it was the strangest feeling to be out and about during the day. I felt like everyone could tell I was somewhere I wasn’t supposed to be.
These days, I really have none of that anxiety. Okay, maybe a little. But I can handle it. And I love being out and about when I’m normally at the office. I look at people and wonder what they do, where their day is taking them.
I took a day off this week to… well, to just take a day off. I went to the gym, I spent time down by the water, I took the dog out for miles and miles.
And even though it was gorgeous outside, I even watched some tv and took a nap on the couch. I really needed it. And maybe I should? But I don’t feel guilty at all.
I’ve talked about the craving to do yoga in art galleries before. I’m not sure where the fascination comes from. I’m either inspired by all the open space and creativity, or I see asana as a celebration of it. Either way, here are some spaces I would throw down my mat and get creative. [Image from Le Parvenue blog.]
The spirals of the Guggenheim in New York are like the spirals of our body. I could imagine doing amazing twists in this space. Reaching up with the breath, making the spine long, and twisting on the exhale. Dizzying. [Image of the Guggenheim from NPR.]
I love the MoMA here in New York. Especially the huge open spaces (like where Marina Abramović did her seated installation) surrounded by art.
[This third image is straight from MoMA.org and this is thier official attribution: Installation view of Abstract Expressionist New York: The Big Picture. Photo: Jason Mandella.
Also, “Mat Goes Here” is inspired by this column by The Jealous Curator.]
Kripalu is a heart home for me. I can’t pinpoint what it is, exactly, since the place is always changing. But it’s like the summer camp where I had my first kiss, except it’s a yoga retreat and I never kissed anyone there. I don’t know. Whether I’m able to articulate it or not, I love the place.
I first volunteered there over a decade ago, and lately I’ve been attending programs as an assistant with my teacher and friend. I’m incredibly excited to go this December. In the last ten years, I’ve somehow managed to miss winter there. I can only hope for snow.
And, you guys, it’s one of my favorite programs: Refilling Your Well. You can read more about the details of the program at the Kripalu site, but I can tell you it is an immersive nurturing experience with a mix of science and self-indulgence. Sounds good, right?
I really encourage people to do something like this at least once in their lives: a weekend dedicated to you and your personal health that is more than just pampering. It’s a learning opportunity with lasting lessons for self-care.
Are you interested? Because you’re invited.
Image from The Dual Life.
I don’t have a “This & That” post planned today, though I thought of trying to cobble one together from my phone. What I do have today is just life. My computer is in the shop and I’m in the midst of a move. I’m only going two blocks away, but it still feels big. Sometimes when one thing shifts, everything moves. My normal routine is thrown completely out of whack.
So I’m going to keep on putting tiny thing in little boxes and pack those boxes into bigger boxes until tonight. Then I’ll take a deep breath, look around my new place, and surely collapse into a heap.
I have a couple of posts brewing and will be back here to share them with you soon. What about you? Can one shift throw you off your game?
So much of my life is routine, even my practice. And I tend to be a homebody, which sometimes means spending a LOT of time in my studio apartment. One of the things I love about practicing outdoors is simply the shake up of it. It’s like crossing my feet in the non-habitual way. It just FEELS different.
I can’t help but connect with the air around me and the ground under my feet and get out of my own head. There’s just something about a real live breeze and the actual sunshine – GAH! – I just adore it. (Daily Downward Dog agrees.)
You can bring your mat outside anytime. If you’re like me, and appreciate a little structure to keep you going, here are some FREE outdoor classes in and around New York City.
These three are on my list.
Classes are on the Upper Terrace on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. and on the lawn on Thursdays at 6 p.m. May-September
Gantry Plaza State Park
On Pier 1 August 12 at 10 a.m., September 9 at 5 p.m.
Socrates Sculpture Park
Kripalu yoga on Saturdays at 9:30 and 11 a.m. May
I haven’t tried these yet. Have you?
Chelsea 14th Street Park
Laughing Lotus yoga classes on Saturdays
at 9 a.m. June–August
Target East Harlem Community Garden
Saturdays at 11 a.m. May–September
Thursday nights at 7 p.m. (near the
Grand Army Plaza entrance). May
Is anyone else doing Yoga Journal’s Meditation Revolution? I started strong, but petered out a bit. I have, however, kept up with the pranayama introduced in week two. I’m working the balance between doing things because I feel like I should (meditating), and doing things that I actually like to do (pranayama). In my head, I get muddled with thoughts of discipline and mental rewards. But maybe it’s just okay to do the practices that work for me without a force fit.
I saw this image today as I browsed Ikea for a new platform bed. I don’t think this frame is my style, but hello meditation everywhere!
Image from Ikea.