Gifts come in many forms

December 16, 2009

I’m sitting here in my office after six o’clock in the evening in the middle of December. I’m trying to get some year-end accounting done, while looking forward to a yoga class in about an hour.

My iPod was playing, but it just ran down to the last song on a playlist, so I’m left in the supposed silence.

Only instead of silence, I hear, coming from the violin studio next door to my office (we share a wall), shouting. Shouting interspersed with the sounds of a violin, but mostly shouting. That’s what makes the walls resonate.

It’s so loud, so profoundly disturbing, that I can no longer keep working on the accounting (which, I admit, is a tough one to hold my attention these days). When the music in my little office stopped, I was left to face the reality of the environment I am in.

To me, the shouting is a reminder of everything I am not, and wish not to become. Read the rest of this entry »

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Intention setting

January 18, 2009

I attended the Yoga Journal Conference in San Francisco this past weekend. I’ve practiced yoga at various levels of intensity since 1999, when it was first introduced to my health club in Ann Arbor, Michigan, by one of the aerobics instructors. Something about it just stuck with me. I went into myself and started to hear my own voice for the first time. It was the first time during exercise that I noticed my breath, and treated my body with care. I’ve been a devotee ever since, with my practice peaking between 2002 (in Cleveland) and 2006 (here in California).

But as with any not-quite-ingrained habit, my motivation has ebbed and flowed over the years. It seems that there’s always an excuse – either the class schedules at nearby studios haven’t fit with my schedule, or the instructors’ presence wasn’t healing for me, or I “didn’t feel like I had time” to do a regular practice. So I’ve done other things, like golf, and Spinning, and working with a personal trainer, all in an attempt to keep that connection between my mind and body which I knew intuitively was essential to my sense of well-being.

Attending this year’s yoga conference reminded me again of why the practice of yoga is an everyday essential in my life, and inspired me to include a new ritual in my teaching as an experiment in 2009. Read the rest of this entry »