cat meets block

Dear Kitteh-

I’d like to see you try this on my new cork blocks, jerk.

Love,

Mama Cat

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setting my intention: to blog

Okay, so I’ve been slacking on blogging. Which is okay, I haven’t been slacking on my practice, which is much more important.

I think part of the issue is that I feel like I need to say something when writing on this blog. I’m taking it too seriously. By nature, I’m a mixture of goof and snark and sweetness, but I don’t really have many yoga friends in real life, so I don’t talk the talk much. Because of that, I think I have a hard time bantering and expressing myself in that way on here. But I realize that unlike my main blog, I’m lucky if 5 people are reading this, so I need to loosen up. :)

I’ve just recently started getting into other yoga blogs and one of the blogs I’ve found that I like is Y is for Yogini. I like her balance of adhikara, play and Western reality checks. It’s a good, fun read with lots of gems. Other blogs I’ve come across that I like are: Vegan Asana, vegan and yoga teacher trainee’s musings on practice and life, and the O2 Yoga blog, run by another fellow vegan and and excellent yoga instructor out of the Boston area. Oh yes, and I read Yoga Dork, which I like, but which I liken to reading People Magazine. Okay, it’s not that fluffy, she does make you think and keep you from taking your practice too seriously, but I could live without pics of celebrities doing yoga. The quiz about Bikram and Charlie Sheen was pure comedy gold, though. :)

So, my challenge to myself is to starting writing more, making sure I’m doing it with joy rather than anxiousness and, of course, to keep on practicing. I am happy to say I’m making headway with my meditation practice (which was previously non-existent). I need to do better, but what I’m doing is better than nothing, so there you go.

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the householder…

This weekend marks the 3rd weekend immersion in my 100-hour immersion program. I’m really excited to be back with my kula for more growing and learning. I even worked on a gift for them:

Over the years I have grown to appreciate props more, but have just recently been introduced to eye pillows. I never thought much about them before, but after having a teacher place on me during savasana recently- total bliss. I wanted to make something nice to give my fellow yoginis and wanted it to be something I could truly put my intention into. Voila! Eye pillows! They are all filled with flax seed and half of them also have chamomile inside.

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about being a householder- a yogi who lives a “normal” life, vs. being monastic. The contemplation of it alone is serious practice. How to balance living in this world with going down the yogic path?

I recently observed the amazing reaction and compassion of someone who I consider to be an amazing example of a householder- Michael Franti. I’m a long time fan of his and he truly, honestly balances being a yogi with been a rock star. Whodathunk that’d be possible? :) He is doing some fundraising and awareness for a Giants fan who got beat into a coma at a Dodger’s game for wearing Giants paraphernalia. The savageness of it all shocks me and brings me back to the question of living your yoga- how to balance outrage and disbelief with compassion? I always feel conflicted.

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cat improves dog

When you don’t want to squish your cat, your down dog gets very strong.

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ouch, it hurts

Not in a big way, but man am I achy.

This past weekend was the 2nd weekend of the Anusara immersion that I’m participating in. Oof, am I sore! We spent a lot of time working on strengthening our scapulas and we did every variation of headstand and armstand that I’ve ever seen.

It made me think about how your focus and reasons for doing things change as you continue to practice. When I first began studying yoga in earnest, the idea of doing a headstand or handstand seemed awesome because it looked so bad ass. For realz, you look crazy cool, right? As I got deeper into my practice, I’ve become more concerned with alignment and finding my edge and so attaining some “crazy cool” posture hasn’t been very important to me. I’m happy working on getting my hips even in Virabhadrasana I.

But in our immersion we’ve worked on headstands and armstands a lot and while I think my immersion mates look awesome when I look around the room (not while in the pose- ouch!), what I get out of it is so different than what I thought I would, 10 years, 5 years, even 2 years ago.

I am continually amazed at how strong I am. We do all of our inversions with an assist so we don’t hurt ourselves, but regardless, I was able to get into tripod headstand from Prasarita Padottanasana! That is something I never would have dreamed of tackling. It makes me think about is the amazing potential for power that we all have within ourselves that we don’t get to see simply because we don’t believe it’s there. What incredible things don’t happen to us simply because we fail to believe?

The ability is there. I did a tripod headstand. I dropped back into full wheel from standing. I would have never believed I was capable of doing it, but I did and with grace.

Where else is this strength hidden in me? I’m excited to find out.

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lemme hear you say… aum

While I totally sucked at math in school, I do have some geeky tendencies surrounding numbers as an adult. My birthday is a times table: 9/9/81. I’ve always had this love of the number 9 and square roots as a whole, which takes it down further to 3.

What difference does this make? I think that love of the number 3 and it’s multiples (108, anyone?) has firmly rooted itself in my yoga practice. My beloved teacher Chia used to say that we do things in 3′s to help us recognize the beginning, the middle and the end and I really love that imagery.

I also love AUM (OM). While I don’t do much of it anymore, in my heart of hearts I think of myself as a musician first, so when I first learned of AUM it really resonated with me. (Ooh, punny!) So much so that I have it tattooed on me in two different places, but that’s another story for another day.

In reading materials for my immersion this weekend, there was this bit about AUM that further blossomed my love for it and my love of 3′s.

AUM- the primordial sound of the manifest universe composed of 3 sounds representing 3 stages of the creative cycle (creation, sustenance and dissolution) surrounded by the 4th aspect of supreme silence.

I love it. :)

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where’s your heart?

This weekend will be the second weekend in a 6 part immersion series I’m doing in Anusara yoga. We meet once a month for 6 months on a Friday evening, all day Saturday, all day Sunday. In the end, it will be over 100 hours of study.

While I have been practicing for many years and have tried a lot of styles, I’m actually newer to practicing Anusara. But, this opportunity to deepen my practice outside of regular class and mat work really appealed to me and I snatched up the opportunity. Very often, any chance to further your practice lands you in a teacher training program, but I’m not sure that’s what I want right now. All I know is that I want to learn more and grow. I’ve really enjoyed the vibe of the yoga community in Eugene. There is a bigger emphasis on learning about the ancient texts and study of the other 7 limbs of yoga that I feel was missing in Portland. I think I’m here, now, for a reason.

One of the main focuses of Anusara is heart-opening, which is good for me, as I have a really tight shoulder and back area and so I find heart-openers really challenging. My reading for this next weekend has been getting put off, as my time has been very concentrated on getting the new nom! site up. But, it looks like I’ll be unlocking it tonight and then I have no excuse to not get with the program and hit the books!

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