I love my girlfriends and their children. I'm not a big fan of chatting with them on the phone and having half a conversation with them as they are feeding Lucas or Hannah or Zion.
"No, honey, you can't eat that. Don't touch that. What were you saying, Laurie?"
And yet, aren't I the pot calling the kettle...
'cause I'm guilty too.
No, I don't have human children, but the children I speak to whilst you are on the phone with me will most probably be the Honda or Lexus in front of me.
"Please drive Lexus! A yield sign means yield, not stop. Are you asking for a written invitation, Escalade? The light is green. What were you saying, dear friend or mom?"
We are, as a society, multitasking individuals, capable of handling, sometimes successfully, multiple things at one time and rarely tuning into to what is really happening to us, within or being present in the actual moment; feeding a child or talking to a friend. It's both being done, yes, but probably half assed.
And yet, that time for singular duties must be available to us on some level in order to find the balance and nourishment we desperately need for ourselves in order for us to be able to give more to those around us, children and Lexus' alike.
When we get to the mat, it is an opportunity to resolve any issues we may be facing internally that we might not be able to handle while holding the little one, the blackberry or the wheel.
The challenges we face on the mat are most probably the same challenges we face in our external life. In the class room, we have just resigned ourselves to shutting up and listening to someone else guide us to a place where, ideally, we can listen to ourselves. It's a quiet voice within that we need to tune into like a radio, sans static and find the clear voice to communicate with. And some of us might never hear that voice, even in yoga. Especially if their is loud music in the room or loud mind noise within. It's a practice and it takes time. Nothing wrong with the loud music playing classes as long as you can find yourself through the noise. Unless, of course, you are going to yoga to avoid yourself and just 'work out' and that's fine too. You can stop reading now and go back to your lunch or phone call or both.
We are given the opportunity, if we are lucky to quiet the noise around us so that we can listen to our needs and passion that drives us out of bed, besides the alarm clock.
When I say, on the mat, that is to say, when I am on the mat. Your yoga might be running a mile or being on the ocean on a surf board.
In brief, which for me means a diatribe, I just want to emphasize how important it is to find what it is that your yoga might be -the place you can find to simply be instead of do.
It's hard, I know, but all of our busy souls can find that union and peace somewhere.
It can be with your child, if you are focussed only on being with your child and not talking to me or listening to the news.
Practice mindfulness in whatever you are doing. Even if you are in traffic, like I am often in.
I escape to the phone. I sometimes call people I can't even stand just to kill the time. And that is all I am doing, killing time.
If I make the most of a sticky situation and just be, think or focus only on the road before me instead of what's next and what I can do, that is being in union.
It might not seem like yoga in the traditional sense but its a lot closer than multitasking and being miserable. If you find zen in multitasking then you are that much closer to enlightenment than I.
Which brings me to another topic of discussion.
I'm not only the hair club president, but I am also a member.
I am not only a teacher, but I am also a student.
I am finding, more and more, when I practice in class, and I've said this before in previous blogs, that teachers try to emphasize what is 'right' and what is 'wrong', not allowing the student to find out for themselves what is and isn't right for them.
Their are so many paths to choose from. When I hear, and its often, "I can't do yoga" or "I tried yoga and was no good," all I want to do is take them into a quiet room and show them just how much they CAN do yoga and maybe even better than I can.
We all have different starting points, physical abilities and limitations. If you practice yoga often, you know that one day on the mat might be a 180 different from the day before. Yoga, as an expressive physical and emotional experience that will challenge you differently each day.
If you've tried yoga once, try it a few times with different styles, different studios and different teachers to find the practice that might resonate with what you need.
FIND OUT WHAT IT IS YOU NEED AND WANT!
Don't let an injury keep you from practicing yoga. I've worked with Chemo patients, injured athletes or regular people with injuries from work or accidents. It's possible.
What's impossible is a closed mind.
Keep your mind open to the possibilities that you can explore in a yoga class or practicing from a book or video if that is where you are at.
Don't let the 'pretty people', the gymnasts, the perfect looking poses, the toned, the label wearing or mat raging individuals that might be next to you keep you from practicing YOUR yoga.
Yoga is like life.
You are going to be exposed to all kinds of people around you. If you can accept them and accept yourself in the moment, you can feel the benefits internally and externally in a yoga class.
There is no 'right' way to do things. Only safe. And if a teacher makes you feel like you aren't doing something right, then most probably, it is not the 'right' class for you. Find another class. There are thousands in LA.
I still remember my first yoga class. I had bleach blonde hair, was caffeinated and barreled into the studio with a big smile and loud voice. I was promptly shuushed and told to take off my shoes and then ignored when I asked what to do next as it was my first time.
I have to say that even in many yoga studios, you won't find the most enlightened and kind people running the show. I've been downright treated rudely and disrespected by many a fine looking peaceful mannered passive-aggressive individual handing me a clipboard, grabbing my credit card and not even looking me in the eye as she or he chats on the phone about Ganesh knows what.
Get over it and don't take it as a personal affront to you.
Don't let that defer you. Just think, they have their own challenges that they are dealing with. Just 'cause they are in a yoga studio behind a desk, doesn't mean they are better than you.
On the other hand, there are so many studios in LA I have experienced that upon walking in the door, the welcoming smiles and encouraging personalities just make you feel at home. Some people like the sterility of walking in, signing in, taking class and walking out. Others like the community and camaraderie to create the experience. To each his/her own. But it's out there for you to find. The right thing is there for you to find.
You just have to look for it or ask me. I'd be happy to tell you where to go. I've been everywhere in LA and can pretty much say that I have had both good and not so good experiences everywhere. A lot had to do with where and what I was coming from too.
Yoga, like anything can become competitive, cutthroat (don't get me started on mat rage) and kind of stressful.
But, 'I can't do yoga' or 'I've tried' is just not good enough. Your yoga is out there for the finding. And it might very well not be doing downward dogs.
Take the time to uni-task. Ask yourself what it is that you need, whether you have an hour and a half to meditate or practice or you barely have the time to get sleep and get the kids out the door to school.
Find that moment of reprieve in your day to search out your yoga.
It can simply be smelling a sweet rose or smiling to a stranger on the street.
If it is on the mat and in the studio, realize that perfecting a pose or 'looking' right doesn't always translate into living the perfect life.
Perfect is nothing more than a word in the dictionary.
Search out happiness, balance and mindfulness.
On that note, I must leave and do twelve things at once.
Be good to yourselves, drink lots of water and call your mother.