Calling All Yogis....
By Laura Mills
Sometimes, we just itch to pull out our mats. Like when sitting in the middle of a less-than-productive meeting; or driving a carpool of chattering, wriggling kids; or sorting a deep pile of dirty laundry. And the mat is definitely the place we’d rather be instead of at the kitchen table paying bills, the pharmacy picking up a prescription, or the yard cleaning after our pets. But yoga cravings also occur at other less -stressful moments. Many of us have felt the urge to breathe and flow, for example, while in the grocery store cereal aisle, the stands at a little league game, or the stylist’s chair.
And of course, we yogis know that yoga also calls at our more profound moments. After a hike, perhaps, as we look down through fog at a winding river…or early in the morning as we gaze at our still-sleeping child…or on the road home from work as we listen to an inspirational song. Yes, yoga calls at pretty much all those moments in which we have difficulty finding words, when all we know is feeling.
So let’s remember, Yogis, that every place and time is a perfectly yogic opportunity. Whether circumstances actually do permit us to pull out our mats, or the most we can do is savor a deep breath or two, we’re practicing. And every time we do, no matter how short or small the practice, through our yoga we bless ourselves and the world.
Thoughts on Flexibility
By Laura Mills
A common theme in yoga classes is moving forward, how we need to open ourselves to new paths if we want to grow. But even in the smallest, day-to-day sense, and even as a serious yogi, I have always been one who struggles whenever my routine changes. Whether it occurs by necessity or the suggestion of my husband or a friend—even if it’s a tiny, pleasant deviation like foregoing laundry for hiking on a Saturday afternoon or reading a good book for an extra half-hour before bed—I experience aggravation at whatever remains unfinished, which at some level prohibits me from totally enjoying myself.
Thankfully, little by little I am still moving forward. IF I breathe; IF I take a moment to reassure myself that the world won’t end if I don’t finish the laundry (for example) in the next two hours; IF I recall a moment on my mat when I felt my practice deepen because I stayed present…. If I take these actions, I find much more ease in balancing the new with the “same old.” Trying alternate paths, such as getting to that extra yoga class, accompanying my husband on a surprise lunch out, or joining a friend for a last-minute conversation, not only makes the present more pleasant, but it also adds to my store of happy times to treasure as I grow.
Have a wonderful, flexible day today.
By Laura Mills
I recently heard about the passing of a person in his mid-50s. It happened at home; as far as I know, he hadn’t been sick and hadn’t shown signs of trouble before one night his heart just stopped beating. The grief, the shock, the inexplicable emotions of his family and friends, I can only imagine….
We all know that the circumstances of life often defy explanation. We can plan, schedule, and prepare; we can visit our doctors or healers on a regular basis, eat all organic, and never touch alcohol or caffeine; we can bathe in hand sanitizer, run twenty miles a day, and use chemical-free cleaners at home. But in the end, of course, we don’t know. We never know; at some point, no matter what, life WILL take us by surprise and—perhaps, for some of us, quite literally—leave us breathless.
If it’s not already part of your practice, discern what really matters to you today, and embrace it. Then do the same thing tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. Especially as Valentine’s Day approaches…what better time to start gifting yourself with a sincere appreciation of the value of your unique and precious life? And remember: even along the timeline of this one chance we’ve got, it’s never too late to try again. Start now.
Thoughts on Hugs, from Christine Stock
February make me think of Love & Hugs, So join me Tuesday Feb. 14th at 9:15 am Level 1-2 for some FREE HUGS.
Hugging is good medicine. It transfers energy, and gives the person hugged an emotional boost. You need 4 hugs a day for survival, 8 for maintenance, and 12 for growth. A hug makes you feel good. The skin is the largest organ we have and it needs a great deal of care. A hug can cover a lot of skin and gives the message that you care. It is also a form of communication. It can say things you don't have words for. The nicest thing about a hug is that you usually can't give one without getting one.
Hugging is healthy: it helps the body's immunity system, it keeps you healthier, it cures depression, it reduces stress, it induces sleep, it's invigorating, it's rejuvenating, it has no unpleasant side effects, and hugging is nothing less than a miracle drug.
Hugging is all natural: it is organic, naturally sweet, it has no pesticides, no preservatives, no artificial ingredients, and is 100% wholesome.
Hugging is practically perfect: there are no movable parts, no batteries to replace, no periodic check-ups, has low energy consumption, high energy yield, is inflation-proof, non-fattening, has no monthly payments, no insurance requirements, is theft-proof, non-taxable, non-polluting, and is, of course, fully refundable."
Hugs are not only nice they are needed... Hugs can relieve pain and depression… make the healthier happier, and the most secure even more so… Hugging feels good and overcomes fear... It provides stretching exercise to short people and stooping exercise to tall people... Hugging does not upset the environment… It saves heat and energy... requires no special equipment.
Hugging makes happy days happier and impossible days possible.
I hope to see you Tuesday Feb. 14th, Valentine's Day, and all other Tuesday's !!
One of the Finer Things
By Laura Mills
Remember that friend from 2nd grade, that “best friend” who sat next to you and sometimes accompanied you to the park after school? Remember also that friend from high school, that one you sat with at lunch and ran track with, whom you thought had the coolest parents? And then remember that friend from college, that one who studied US History with you and played cards with you on Saturday afternoons?
Obviously, our friends and friendships change as we get older and our lives fill with more commitments and larger concerns. We have less time for playing, hanging out, and catching up. We lose touch with many; how many times have we thought, “I wonder what happened to so-and-so…,” or driven home from restaurants thinking, “She sure looked familiar—I wonder if she was from such-and-such….” And even among the friendships we do keep through the years, many of us maintain a large part of them technologically these days and devote less time to in-person contact.
It’s almost scary how quickly people pass through our lives, like shells we pass while walking on a beach: they’re there and then gone, with only a few remaining in our pockets for us to treasure long-term. Each particular moment with each particular friend never repeats itself, no matter how significant or wonderful, dramatic or memorable. So take a moment right now to mentally bless a friend. Then make an intention to seek out that person, and when together, look that person in the eyes and say, “Thank you.”
"No Sitting" Syndrome
By Laura Mills
One Saturday, finding myself with a few hours free before dinner, I walked in the door looking forward to reading. But before my legs touched the couch, I thought of the folder in the kitchen drawer, the one storing the take-out menus, and how I had been meaning to reorganize it but hadn’t yet done so. So I put down my book, pulled out the folder, and weeded out the oldest menus. Then, I figured as long as I was standing at the kitchen counter, I would put away the dishes that had been drying beside the sink. After that—I was already in the kitchen, anyway—I thought I might as well get a head start on dinner….
In the end, before dinner, I read for about 5 minutes.
This is not unusual for me. Looking back at that afternoon as an example, I wonder why I carve my days into the tiniest increments of productive time. Is my goal to be able to sit—SOMEDAY—and congratulate myself on how good it feels to finally have everything just perfect? The more I think about that, the more futile it seems. I’m not sure such a point even exists, and if it does, I don’t think I would recognize it when I arrived there anyway.
Maybe that’s the trick: learning how not to struggle with perfecting life at the expense of life itself.