Monday, January 9, 2012

and breathe...


Inhale for four counts, hold the inhale for four counts, exhale for four counts, hold the exhale for four counts...this is called pranayana.  If you are into yoga, you've done this and then tried to erase your mind of the chaos going on in it for an hour or more. 

While in Utah over the holidays, Vee scheduled a private yoga session with one of her favorite teachers, Edy (pronounced: EeeeeeD). She has been gushing about her for months...now I know why.

Let me begin with, I've taken yoga haphazardly over the past fifteen years.  I looked at it as a way to stretch.  That was it. Nothing else.  I wasn't really 'present' for class.  Sadly, the entire hour I'd move through the poses as I made lists of what I needed to get done once I got out of there.  I wasn't mindful or reaping the benefits yoga was providing. 

You've had those experiences before, right?  One day, something changes...something clicks.  Edy was that something...that click that changed things for me. 

She opened the door and smiled...this big genuine smile and gave Vee one of those good hugs...the kind someone watching thinks...how lucky...both of them completely all wrapped up like they meant it...my friend Karen used to give you those kind of hugs.  Anyway, she exuded a calm...this quiet...warm spirit I wanted to consume. Then...she hugged me too.  Oh my gosh, she exclaimed...you two look just alike. I can't help but love when people say this to me...mostly, because it means one thing...that I am with my butterfly. 

She lead us upstairs to her yoga studio.  I was looking around on our way there...Wilco posters, Phish posters...a poster of a blue-grass band(mental note to youtube them)...Buddhas...it looked comfortable...it looked like her and I barely knew her.  She was just as Vee had described...and her home a reflection.  I loved it...just the type of place I imagined she would live.  Simply showcasing her passions and living out loud.     

We got right to it.  Honestly, I was a little nervous.  I knew Vee had been taking yoga consistently for months and I hadn't.  I hope I didn't embarrass her. What if I couldn't keep up?  But, I tried my hardest and decided to just let it go.  Do the best I could and have fun.  Typically, when you do this...what happens?  You have the time of your life!  That is just what happened. 

We began in the pose above.  Edy had made a special mix of music for our session.  She told us to close our eyes...find your breath. It got quiet and then she told us a story.  It was something about the solstice and bringing to light what you wanted to cultivate as we move into this period of longer days and shorter nights.  Oh no I thought to myself...I suddenly tensed up...do I have to answer this right now?  It seemed like a difficult question...what do I want to cultivate?  What do I want to bring to light?  Just like that...as if she read my mind...she said just think about it throughout the practice...think about it this week.  Keep it in mind as you move along.  And breathe... 

As we flowed through the hour and a half, I thought about how lucky I was that Vee brought me here.  Introduced me to her friend and encouraged me to look at yoga differently and how it has changed her life. 

I didn't want it to end.  I wanted to know about Edy.  She has this spirit.  She has all of these goals.  She is encouraging and motivating. 

We sat down for tea.  Before we knew it, three hours had flown by.  I never once looked at my phone; I never even thought about it.  I just wanted to keep chatting.  I was having so much fun.

Edy met her husband at a yoga seminar.  They went to dinner and she shared a goal she had.  To travel to all 50 states before she turned 50.  She lived in Memphis; he in Park City.  Shortly after she left, he called her up...hey, you ever been to Kansas?  (I like his style)  She hadn't.  He found a band (remember the posters peppered about), a place to stay and they met at the airport...and as they say, that's all she wrote.  Love.  How kewl is that? 

We talked for a long time...I couldn't help but ask about her goal.  How many states left until you have been to all 50?  Four!  Wow!  What has been her favorite?  North Carolina.  She is a writer and basically a doer.  She sets goals and moves forward accomplishing them.  She was so easy to be around...like a friend I have known for years.  She had this gentleness...yet a passion for what she does and is all about that shines around her.  I wanted that.  This complete and utter twinkling that made her radiate.  

I made a new friend.  Spent time with my best friend.  Found passion for a new sport and it has facilitated a new learning that made me think about yoga differently.  Yoga is beautiful.  It isn't easy...it's not a girly sport and it isn't just stretching.   
Yoga is defined as a physical, mental and spiritual discipline, originating in ancient India.  The goal of yoga, or of the person practicing yoga, is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility while meditating.

Since I've been back, I joined a studio in South Bend and have been practicing different types of yoga.  I've been studying terms, poses and meditating. I love it.  It is changing me.  I've found this inner quiet.  This calm that is helping me focus on how to find what I want.  

It makes me smile as I think of my dad...keep learning...be passionate...find things that are challenging and continue to teach yourself...continue to make yourself a better person.  

Thank you Vee for sharing your yoga love and introducing me to your friend Edy. I'm forever grateful for your inspiration and help in bringing dad's spirit around and the challenge to continue learning that helps to shape me. 

Thank you Edy for opening your home and sharing your passion and enthusiasm for not only yoga but life.  I am grateful for your kindness...your inspiring that 'click' in me but mostly for our new friendship.
Edy working her way into a headstand.  I've got a long way to go to do this without wall support but, Vee got hers!!

This looks like an advanced version of Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana - but don't take my word for it...I'm learning, remember?


Seriously, right?  This pose is incredibly difficult and look...she is still smiling!  I believe it is called, Eka Pada Koundiyanasana. 

Vee and Edy creating a bridge via a standing back bend. 

Vee mastering Bakasana or Crane Pose.


I think this is called Cat tail.

I couldn't find the proper name for this two-person downward facing dawg-type of pose
Then Edy had us take it up a notch.  It was so fun to try some new things - partner style.

Camatkarasana or wild thing.  First of all, I love that it's called wild thing.  This was one of my favorites. One poetic translation of this pose means, "the ecstatic unfolding of the enraptured heart." How apropos?

As I keep exploring yoga, I may morph into one of those mala-bead wearing, tea drinking, everything yogi's.  I'll develop the 'speak' and consume my workouts with all things yoga.  I like this.

Of course...I'll keep you posted. 

Namaste!

1 comment:

  1. Mel, you ARE a yogi! I loved our session together and I love this post. Your honesty and humor shine through. I can't wait for our next yoga + tea time!

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