There's been so much to do for PYR: working on our mission statement and values and goals, coordinating teacher workshops and community service work (we have our first official community teaching gig!), lining up everything for us to file for 501 c(3) [non-profit] status; all the while teaching all my regular classes, settling my grandmother's estate, teacher training, trying to be a good, patient and mindful wife and doggie mom; and taking care of myself physically. I have found pranayama to be my biggest ally in remaining grounded and feeling centered and focused. Whenever I catch myself getting overwhelmed, I just sit or stand a little taller, align my spine, soften my gaze (or close eyes if possible), and take long, slow breaths, holding at the end of each inhale and exhale. It only takes a minute, and I always feel better immediately. It's not always easy to find time to meditate or practice, but pranayama always fits in.
I also have some exciting news-- I am now an ambassador for lululemon athletica here in Richmond. What this means is that I have been chosen to keep doing what I am doing but do even more of it, represent the fantastic brand that is lululemon, and be a helpful role model to those in the community. I was completely surprised when I went to the showroom (summoned by Val, the fantastic manager) and found my name written in giant letters on their chalkboard with my partner Jay standing there beaming. It was pretty cool. There is a new store opening in Short Pump in May and each of the 10 ambassadors chosen will have a large photograph on the wall in the store. My outdoor photo shoot is next week, so of course that means eating, hydrating, practicing and getting good rest. Nothing like a little low-grade vanity to kick the healthy lifestyle back into gear!
Last weekend I was in South Carolina with Rolf Gates again (I had a missed weekend to make up). The weekend was titled "Embodying the Light: Vinyasa Intensive." Rolf started with an hour long talk on aligning our values and our actions as sadhana (spiritual path or quest). He said yoga teaches us to bear witness to our habitual patterns of suffering and not let them rule our lives any longer. Contentment comes with acceptance of our circumstances as they are. We stick to this path by being rooted in the higher good and being willing to change and to let go of the person we once were, when that role no longer serves our purpose for higher good.
He spoke about how alignment in a yoga posture creates new opportunities. If I am fearful for example in ardha chandrasana (half moon) that I might fall while balancing on one leg, if I root my supporting leg and pull the lifted leg into alignment, there's much greater freedom in the posture because I feel safer and can reach more fully through the arms and head-- and even, on a great day, catch my back heel and work the posture into more of a backbend-- ardha chandra chapasana. When I'm that focused, that grounded in purpose, and that willing to explore and change, my heart opens so wide that the possibilities seem endless. It's like that in life. If I know what I believe in and remain rooted in what I am all about, my possibilities for expression of that intention feel limitless.
What a beautiful lesson!
Oh, and there were these raw chocolate truffles -- maybe it was my blissful practice or maybe it was these that were making me feel so happy all weekend :)
While I was traveling I also had the opportunity to visit a beautiful studio in Hilton Head, SC called JivaYoga. My friend Susan and I went there for two classes, Slow Flow/Deep Stretch with Jean and Dynamic Flow with Vicki and they were both fantastic.
In my next blog, if I remember, I will talk about how acupuncture is changing my life. :)