Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wellness Wednesday - The Yoga Diaries

I was at Roberta's house Sunday night for dinner and I mentioned I was considering making a commitment to do yoga every day for 30 days. "Well", she said, "how about making a vow? A vow is so much deeper than a commitment really. Let's do it together." (You have to be really careful what you mention you're considering to Roberta.) Thus began our "vow" to do yoga every day for 30 days and to write to each other about our practice. Roberta's first installment was so beautiful I asked her if I could share it here. So I guess Roberta is my first guest blogger! Here is her first Yoga Diary installment:

Day 2 The Yoga Diaries - Two Yoginis Takin' it Deeper

Day 2 is actually our first "real day" of my experiment with dear yogini friend Angela--taking a VOW (not a "pact", not a "committment", but a VOW!) to do yoga every day for one month. And to share what we are discovering with each other as well of course being a great source of support and encouragement. As this notion arose two days ago, part of what was clear to us was that a vow is something sacred, and something you don't screw around with. Are you for real, or are you just playing around with trying eternally to get better! Interesting question and already a fascinating exploration. Our first day we were both in class with our wonderful teacher Debra, being inspired as usual. But today we were left to our own resources! So here's my report for this day:

Decided at some point that I would have an early evening practice of some sort. Started preparing thinking about something I read once in "Light on Yoga" about how it's advisable to bathe both before and after practice. A novel idea to us westerners. But I like the idea of purifying and cleansing the body as part of entering into a sacred event. Also felt it would feel good to wash the day away. So I took a lovely long bubble bath with Miracle Soap and an essential oil blend called "Tranquility"--lavender, balsam fir needle, patchouli, Roman chamomile, palmerosa, and geranium. Just reading the ingredients puts me into deep chill mode. Decided not to read as I often do in the bathroom and just relaxed and let the sounds of the new Shantala cd soothe my body and soul.

Dried off and dressed in my favorite yoga clothes and then suffered a brief glitch of not remembering where I'd put my yoga mat. But clarity of intention persevered and after a brief search I found it and spread it out in my bedroom.

My bedroom is currently in flux, as are a lot of parts of my house. Because of three beautiful thangkas on the wall, a lovely Saraswati statue, and a sufi wood painting from Morocco, the room has a nice feeling. But because it also has some absolutely huge electical cords required for remodeling as well as often has noisy toddlers or a crying baby in the room during the day, I realized tonight that I have withdrawn my energy from this room, mainly just sleeping there. Only very recently even vacuumed, dusted, and changed the sheets in this poor neglected area. So I began my practice by relaxing into being with Chenrisi, White Tara, and Green Tara who are the figures in the three thangkas. I began by looking closely but softly at all of the details, many of which I had never fully noticed or had forgotten about. Then I looked at the entire image again in a soft way. Then it spontaneously occurred to me to ask and open myself to the blessings that were available for the asking. I opened my arms by my sides and allowed myself to receive fully with no obstruction or no notion of the concept of "obstructions". No nada. So beautiful to fully receive. I then raised my hands high, bowed deeply, and moved on to the next being who was awaiting my visit. Enjoyed learning to sense in a more refined way these different but equally sublime healing energies. White Tara is interesting because in this thangka she is more of a tan color with numerous gold highlights and these amazing pink roses. Just lush. The richness and fullness of Chenresi always bowls me over. And Green Tara is so dark, primal, mysterious, and eternally flowing and giving. A real babe of the deep jungle. Like Kali. And finally I came to the sufi painting I'd purchased in Morocco in 1967 on an early adventure with a girl friend. This painting may be the only thing besides my violin I've managed to hold onto after a life of so many years of moving A LOT. Moving houses, apartments, moving to new parts of the same town many times, changing housemates, husbands and lovers quite a lot. So the stuff has literally been flying all over the place. But this painting has been with me through three different spiritual communities, gracing so many houses and spaces I've lived in. And even though I "liked" it, it was always a bit of an enigma to me --"some kind of sufi thing". Tonight I relaxed gently into the concentric intricately decorated circles, noticing a couple of grease stains. I couldn't remember whether they came with it when I bought it. I slowly became aware of subtle gradations of coloration and a slight pulsating motion, drawing me deeper into the Heart at the core. I suddenly knew that this "thing" which I'd pondered and speculated about over the hearts, is nothing less than a crystallized transmission of Love, waiting patiently for the beholder who looks on it with love to bring it into Life and "activate" it.

So this, my dear yogini buddy, was the Beginning of Practice tonight! Oh my goodness. I actually had the thought that this could also be the end of my practice for today, as our "guidelines" mercifully allow a lot of leeway for what it is to consciously "practice yoga". I was already feeling that nothing was lacking. But my space was by this time feeling so energized and divinized that I was curious to discover what I might further experience. When I sat down I was immediately aware of beginning to breathe more deeply and regularly and continuing to remain open to all these blessings raining down. I didn't even think to do the Invocation we usually do as it seemed like it had already happened. I started doing some gentle neck stretches and spinal movements, loosening up what I was immediately aware was speaking to me. Then I even remembered to change the cross of my legs as Debra has been having us do recently. Noticed how I have been "resenting" this intrusion on my "habit" but that tonight it seemed just interesting. Then moved into child's pose. Thought briefly about how much I was enjoying this chance to "experiment" a bit. Why do we always or at least very often begin with child's pose? Well, it seems because it is such a great gentle hip opener as well as a simultaneous great spine stretch. A great prep for Down Dog. Am feeling that at long last I am on the verge of begninning to inhabit Down Dog. Gosh, a breakthrough! This is because recently Debra made it clear that not only is it way overdue for me to get my shoulders open (instead of "working at it" for years and years!), but that the essential muscles and knowledge is actually already in the program. She showed me exactly where it is in fact recently, and this was so brilliant. Now instead of constantly haranguing myself about how I Should Do More Shoulder Openers, I can just simply open them. Hallelujah! So after my best and fullest expression of Down Dog (at this point in time and space)then I moved to pigeon (your favorite!) which I experienced so beautifully and deeply tonight. I really like this one. Then back to down dog, lowering down pretty gracefully into cobra which I also enjoy so much, especially with the arms out to the side so you can really get "the trench". Then slowly up via Fierce Pose which I am also finding to be powerfully energizing as of late. Stood in relaxed but impeccable Standing Pose breathing deeply and smoothly for a while. Sat down thinking I might do some more asanas, but then thought "No, more is not necessarily better. I am not competing with anyone, not even myself or my past selves". Now that is a relief! It was tantamount to myself and everyone else in the room (Green Tara, White Tara, Chenresi, and the unnamed Sufi) that the next best move was sivasana! But before I got into this I brought my awareness into having an "arch" in my lower back, shoulders back and heart up and shining. Then some moments of letting it all go into timeless and spaceless mode. But still so energized and alive that when the notion of "The Yoga Diaries" flitted into my brain I had to gently rise from this excellent session and tell you all about it.

I was sure from the get go that this Vow was a good idea. But it's way better than I'd imagined (as of course, everything always is!) So no expectation, no programs, no agendas, no plans. Just show up and see what's happening. Thank you so much for being the generator of this enjoyable and instructive experiment,girlfriend!

With love and comradeship in endless exploration--



Olivia said...

What a wonderful idea, and so beneficial. Just coming off of BE BRAVE and NaNoWriMo, I can say that I find the intensity of 30-day-commitment/vows very powerful. I will enjoy reading about your journey. xxoo, O

miss*R said...

I love this! I am going to come back and re-read it I am sure.. thankyou for sharing with us.. and I love the word VOW.. what a wonderful idea xo

Diva Carla said...

Enriching post. You are lucky in friends, as is Roberta.

Kikipotamus said...

How blessed you both are to have each other as a friend.

turtlegirl said...

Holy shit Roberta... what will day 30 bring? I'm impressed.

bella said...

Thank-you for sharing this.
So life giving and abundant.

Jane said...

I like the idea that a vow is so much more powerful than a promise. I wish I had the physical flexibility to do yoga...I've got a metal rod the full length of my back. I admire your journey so much....