Category Archives: yoga, hatha

focus on what you love

This has become my new affirmation, thanks to a flier I received in the mail from LensCrafters that has this line as their come-on (focus = get new glasses, get it?). So will I do it?

This morning I am off to a good start. Awoke at 6:00 a.m. and actually got up. Chanted as the sun came up, then meditated. Now I’m at a local coffeehouse before doing a few errands in my neighborhood. Tonight I go to the local Siddha Yoga Meditation Center for satsang.

This week the fall session of Women Writing for (a) Change began. It was good to be back in a class! Being in a small group each week with listeners for my writing pieces really helps with the discipline I need to write regularly. Following class, there was a Women Writing New Media Circle meeting. There are six of us now as we create, organize, host, and record podcasts. It’s always a good sign if there is laughter at a meeting. (We blame it partly on the chocolate)!

Fall is my favorite season. I am glad, and grateful, to be able to go outside when I want. Thirty years of full-time work inside a building took its toll. My dogs are happy they are getting more walks. I am happy I can watch the leaves turn colors, then go out and crunch them under my feet any time of day.

My time is opening up since I quit going to hatha yoga classes. Although I would try for three classes a week, usually I made it to two. Having two mornings open up is a goddess-send. I enjoyed the classes and like the teacher but . . . I now feel free, as a retiree should. I have been too quick to say yes to the Universe, I fear. Now I must prioritize — focus on what I love.

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kuan yin/morning yoga

Today I got it right. I took my time drinking coffee and waking up. I awoke with a clear decision about some financial matters and felt good about that. My body felt stiff, as usual, and I thought: time for ‘yoga’ !

So I took my mat out on the deck and saluted the sun. My body automatically went into prostrations. These are the kind I used to do when I was with the Kwan Um School of Zen. I decided 27 bows since I knew I wasn’t up to 108. I plan to work my way up to that!

You see, I will be quitting the Y and only taking the yoga class. While the weather is nice, I can do hatha yoga, walk at Farbach Werner park and on my road. The money I save this way will go toward food (yes, let’s keep it basic!).

While stretching and doing yoga on my deck, I played a compilation of songs and chants to Kuan Yin. My friend Eileen had given this to me awhile back. It was the perfect choice. At some point, I felt so great — the Universe was good and so was my life. I was in the right place at the right time. I was One and not separate. Everything will be okay. Yes, more mornings like this is my intention.

reading the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali / poem #100

This morning I took my cup of organic decaf to my deck to begin my day. It was early so there were no edgers or mowers shrieking in the neighborhood. The only sounds were birds and the occasional bark of a dog.

My companion was Patanjali. How auspicious! As the author explains, “Patanjali is to Yoga, what Buddha is to Buddhism.” * By yoga, Patanjali means the all-encompassing definition of yoga, as in yoke or union with the Divine, including hatha yoga. I had bought this book months ago and it’s been sitting on my coffee table of ‘books to read immediately or in the very near future.’ I had actually begun reading it once before but set it aside. This morning, however, the words spoke to me. Consider:

I, 21

For those who have
an intense urge for Spirit
and wisdom,
it sits near them,
waiting.

Rereading this sutra, twelve hours later, I feel bliss. I feel so fortunate that I can sometimes be open enough to have these experiences (but then, ‘to have’ denotes being separate).

Poem: “an intense urge for Spirit”

If it didn’t sound like attachment,
I’d say I wished I’d thought up that phrase.
Instead, I breathe it in and sigh.

* Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, as interpreted by Mukunda Stiles, Weiser Books, c2002

yoga, revisited / poem 89

I haven’t written much about yoga lately. For a few weeks I actually made it to yoga twice a week (found out about a Saturday morning class in Northside to supplement the night at the Y). Now, though, I may be teaching an online class Saturday mornings which would make the second one not possible.

Tonight I went to the one at the Y. I can do most asanas halfway decent except those that require arms going behind your back. My arms are just too stiff! Is it being old, an Aquarius (fixed sign), or what? I suspect it’s an aging thing. Well, I’m happy with getting myself to class at all tonight; the weather was gorgeous/I wanted to stay home on my deck.

yoga

you call to me
but sometimes when I stretch
it reminds me how rigid I am

yoga twice in three days / poem 61

I’m not used to this
stretching of limbs and settling of mind.
The fact that I feel pain means the ego won again.

Monday ~ with 108 Poems, #5

It may be rainy, gray, & cold outside but I choose not to let it spoil my day. For today is a good day already, I know this. I have chosen two activities which will fill me with warmth and who knows how much more?

I am picking up my dear friend Eileen. She has been mostly housebound after foot surgery. We will have lunch at one of our favorite places, Melt, a mostly vegetarian restaurant in my former neighborhood of Northside. It reminds me of Mullanes, a great & funky restaurant downtown whose closing saddened many people. So, for me, Melt is my new Mullanes. I love to support Northside and I love all the choices I get at Melt.

Then, tonight is yoga class with Melissa. I claim she has near magical powers since she helped me like yoga after dismissing it for literally decades. Now I love it, probably mostly because it quiets the ego and allows me to surrender to the asana. Although I often begin with stiffness, I almost always find flexibility by the end of class. This is a good thing!

All of these lead me to poem #5:

We stretch ourselves with our noontime questions.
Lodged in my body, the unanswerable ones
gently release themselves during evening yoga.

Downward dog

Last night in yoga class, Melissa complimented me. She rarely walks around the room to gently correct someone. Since there were new people, she may have felt she needed to check on us. I was positioned in downward dog and, evidently, my form was good because Melissa came up to me, touched my back lightly, and said, “Perfect. Beautiful.”

“Perfect. Beautiful.” “Perfect. Beautiful.” I mean, she could have said “good, Phebe” but she said, “perfect. Beautiful.”

I realize I was born “perfect. Beautiful.” How many times must I be reminded before I really believe it? How often do I truly believe in my inner divinity? I know Melissa meant it that my downward dog was lookin’ good, still, it is perfectly beautiful if I take it in on a deeper level as well.

This morning when I was stretching I thought of her:  I really like the person Melissa seems to be. She says she thinks of herself not as our teacher as much as our facilitator. Such humility. I appreciate the atmosphere she sets for our class:  surrender instead of struggle, and commit to self-care through yoga. How synchronistic that I selected self-care as my New Year’s Resolution!

After class, I wanted to tell her I ‘get’ downward dog because I live with two dogs, do ya think? But another student paused to ask her something so I walked up the stairs of the Y and floated out into the mist toward my car.