This January marks six years since this wily beast came into my life.
She’s curled up in a ball at my feet as I write this and I just love the little bugger. I know everyone says their dog is awesome, but I’m going to go ahead and insist that she’s really is the best. I mean, look at that face.
Her foster dog family named her “Lady Mellow,” and she truly is one chill pup. Originally I’d wanted to small dog, a carry-on. But even though I can’t take her on the subway, I love all 50 lbs of her every day. Here are some of my favorite “Daily Kaylee” shots from the last year.
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.
As January approaches (how did that happen?), I wanted to gather up some of your favorite posts from this year.
Kripalu: What I Pack This was THE most popular post of the year, for sure. And timely, as I’m heading back up to the snowy Berkshires right after the holiday. Update on this post: I’ve upgraded my water bottle and now use and love my this one from bk – a lovely part of my Blogshop goodie bag.
Yoga in Bed: 8 Poses to Wake Up To I know. Sometimes it’s just too cold or too comfy to leave the sanctuary of our beds.
This & That: Moon Salutations I’m sensing a real Yin vibe from you guys this year. I think this is another perfect posture series to do around the holidays.
Have a wonderful year-end celebration everyone. And thank you for coming with me on the adventure.
I have been drawn to Ardha Chandrasana lately. For some reason, I can feel the dynamic tension between grounding and expanding so profoundly in this posture. The foot stable, roots deep through the mat, through the floor, into the earth below me. And my heart searching, yearning, turning upwards. It’s felt pretty amazing.
Am I drawn to it to relieve anxiety, to work my ankles, stretch my groin? Or is it that something inside me knows that ‘chandra’ can mean glittering, shining, brilliant light, and I’m approaching the idea of shining with everything I do?
Or maybe it’s just because I found a cool new way to come into the pose. I learned a long time ago to just do what my body wants when it comes to my time on the mat. I don’t ask too many questions.
Here’s my new entry into Ardha Chandrasana: (Here’s a more traditional entry.)
1. Start in down dog
2. Identify the point on your mat half way between your hands and your feet
3. Step the right food forward to that point
4. Adjust your right hand to be forward and to the right of your standing foot (like a kickstand or second leg)
5. Slowly, using your core, lift the back leg AS YOU rotate the body towards the side wall
6. Keep the left hand at your waist, or extend it upward to the sky, following it with your gaze
This is a pretty subtle variation to coming from triangle pose, but for me, I feel a big shift. It’s much easier for me to shift my gaze from my standing foot, to the sidewall, to my upward-reaching hand and shine.
Image from Fine Featherheads.
I do this thing. When I’m feeling unsatisfied, or insecure, I start collecting. I Pin beautiful images, and try to figure out how to make my life mirror them. I read memoirs and try to imagine my life as theirs. I look outside of myself for the missing piece. As if there is some room I can sit in that will make it all clear, or a tiny slice of wisdom outside of myself that is going to make the difference.
I know that’s not true. And still, I collect. I used to beat myself up about this but recently I took a look at one of my collections – a list of inspiring women – and I learned something.
What all these women seem to have in common is that they aren’t copying someone else. They’ve forged their own paths, ones that might look very different from what they thought – or what anyone else thought for that matter.
This is awesome and frustrating. Because there is part of me that is still looking for an instruction book on life: “The 5 Steps to Being Happy,” “Here’s How to Be Radiantly Yourself.” But the longer I go at this, the more I realize, there isn’t a model to follow. I can look at these women and be inspired by their stories, but in the end, they are not my stories. I can’t do what they did. I have to come up with this life on my own.
That said, here are some women I admire for their vision, commitment and pluck, honesty, and individuality
Erin Loechner of Design For Mankind
Andrea Scher of Superhero Life
Katie O’Connell of Dragon Fly Yoga Barn (Not a website, a real-life place)
Shauna Ahern of Gluten Free Girl
This morning I taught my ‘Yoga With A View’ corporate yoga class, from the roof of the office building over looking Central Park. And I completely nerded out. Talking about the squeeze-and-soak benefits of eagle pose from this place – all the way up here – I felt high.
I imagined teaching before I ever took a training. I could close my eyes and feel the class. That’s why when I found the right teacher training, it didn’t matter that I was scared. I knew I had to do it.
For years after that, I didn’t teach regularly. I played with the balance of teaching and working my day job. And now – with this small, beautiful class and a kids’ yoga session starting up in the fall – I am just so completely grateful.
That’s all, kids. I just wanted to be grateful and feel good and share it. That’s it. Just high.
written Monday, for posting Wednesday.
Tomorrow morning (oh, so, early) I’m leaving on a jet plane to visit my other martinis in Chicago. I know the Memorial Day holiday isn’t until next weekend, but it was time for a change of scenery.
I’m looking forward to some sweet time with Laura and her family. I am always relaxed and at home there. We might get some yummy breakfast, and I even heard a rumor there could be spa time.
I’ll be back next week. What are you doing for Memorial Day?