Monthly Archives: January 2013
In my yoga practice, my favorite thing is Ujjayi Pranayama. This is the breath that sounds like an ocean in my throat and is especially satisfying when I can’t physically be at the beach, looking at the ocean. When time must stand still, in an asana, while showing patience, or while gathering courage, breathing can help. So, in lieu of a mantra, since I’ve never officially been given one, I create my own. I am breathing in, I am breathing out.
Teaching this to children, 5 year-olds, is an enlightenment in itself. Have you ever heard children cheer when told it was time for yoga? Have you ever witnessed the serious face of a small child gazing over his hand in Warrier 2, or smiled secretly as a little girl in triangle pose looked up at her hand and said, “Hello hand!”
Yoga can mean moving into a posture, noticing one’s environment, listening to one’s body or simple quieting the mind long enough to breathe and be calmed by that magical sound.
Gratitude, like yoga, is a practice too. I am grateful to my teachers, to have a beautiful space to practice, to have a special place in my home to continue that practice and to share the gift of calm with 27 rambunctious 5 year-olds, who move through out the day, but who are grateful for the opportunity to slow down, listen to their private ocean and breathe in and out.
You might notice a few little “badges” on the right side of this page. Two will lead you to the wonderful website: http://www.writingourwayhome.com, the home of Small Stones and other cool writing motivators. Note the new “Small Stones” page on this blog where my Small Stones of the January 2013 challenge are residing.
The third will lead you to my inspiration: http://www.leoniedawson.com. I first discovered Leonie’s website a few years ago and it has ballooned to a huge success for her, and in turn, for those of us lucky enough to play with all the Goddess courses and books. I was so inspired by her practical approach to goal setting, and more importantly, goal reaching, that I followed her methods to start my business, create a website, and write my first book. As a long time teacher, all of my efforts are focused on helping students achieve school success by incorporating the habits of visualization, yoga, positive thinking and manifestation techniques I have been weaving into my life for years, into the lives of students. I have been so inspired by:
Michelle Jacob (website on the way!)
and the many others who inspire so many to find their true purpose and live authentic lives. This can be done in so many ways and I want to inspire children to find the path that is their truth. We are all unique and it is when we share that special part of ourselves that we leave an imprint on others.
Take a moment, explore those that have inspire me, or begin the search for your own inspirations. It is by allowing ourselves to lean in to who we are meant to be that we become models for others. Please share any information you find useful. Comments welcome.
Why is the wind so restless? It begin to howl yesterday afternoon and during the night it droned on endlessly waking people and dogs alike. Charlie demanded to go out into the windy night twice, unlike him to wake from his comfy slumber on the sofa in our room but the wind brought out the wild in him. He spent time on the lounge in the yard, poised like a sphinx, nose in the wind, whiskers blowing. We too were restless, listening to the howling up here in the tree house. We are perched above, in somewhat of a wind tunnel, and while it looks like a restless breeze, it sounds like we are living in a haunted house.
This morning we struggled to rise, not as rested as we would like, to face the wind again for our dutiful morning walk with Charlie. Somehow he never tires of the outdoor adventures, though in-between he sleeps deeply, contentedly, owning the sofa or curled in his bed. He really demands so little: morning and afternoon walks, cozy sleeping arrangements, a nuzzle here and a dog hug there, yummy treats and cool water. He gives so much: unconditional love, tenderness (like the way he gently licks the peanut butter hiding his daily pro biotic off of Gary’s finger in the morning), companionship (nestling in next to the bass drum as Gary practices or planting himself at my feet as I write), and serving as the lone “brother” in a house of daughters.
People come into our lives for reasons known and unknown. The same is true of animals. They arrive and are woven into our family fabric, becoming part of traditions, histories, and etching permanence in our hearts.
Today I appreciate this good old boy of ours, hearing his gentle breath and soft snores as I enjoy my last few days of winter break.
It was a good idea to meet up with my friend and her dog to walk the lake today. The weather was perfect, crisp, slightly warm from the weak winter sun and the winds hadn’t picked up yet. We walked briskly, catching up and keeping up with her dog Pink. Ellen and I have been friends since we were 13 and that’s saying a lot. A lot of time and water under the bridge. We have been in and out of contact and manage to stay connected somehow. We chat and observe the people, old immigrants, young children still on winter break, men fishing or playing with remote-controlled boats on the lake. We pass the different areas; the playground, the bridge crossing the tumbling water, the bird-filled trees that sound like an aviary as we pass underneath and the benches inhabited by people reading, talking, resting and daydreaming. We see children frolicking as they run from the large geese and tease the smaller birds with crumbs. We hear people speaking many languages. What is that? Russian, Spanish, Italian? There is a melding pot of people all out for a day in January, starting the New Year with a stroll, a walk hand-in-hand, in workout gear, new sneakers, old walking shoes and jackets, with arms pumping and quick breaths, with hands holding canes to steady plump bodies breathing slowly. For this hour, we walk in this moment in time. Old friends sharing, enjoying the beauty that exists within a busy city.
I am beginning 2013 with a writing challenge and you can read my Small Stones on the new page I created on this blog (see, click at the top on the page labeled Small Stones). Join in if you like! You can read all about it on the Writing Our Way Home website/blog. The challenge for me is to write every day, but there are other challenges as well. For one thing, this challenge requires me to observe, look around and respond to what I see and for that to happen I need to slow down, which is another challenge for me. Then I have to take my time and play with the words, getting them to flow just the way I want.
I like beginning the new year with a clean slate and lots of fresh ideas so today is my day to get centered and hone in on the things that are most important to me this year. Writing seemed to jump to the top of the list followed by healthy habits and building a financial future. Later tonight we will create our vision boards for the year in what has become our tradition. We take all of our old magazines, some poster board and glue sticks and spend an evening creating a visual image of what we want our year to look like. My board will find a cozy spot atop my new yoga/meditation/exercise space.
365 days lay ahead like the small stones I am writing this month. All we can do is jump ahead one stone at a time, looking, feeling, and taking it all in and giving as much love as we can to all we encounter. Happy New Year!