Weathering the Storm-Matthew Style
The time says 6:00 P.M. on Thursday, October 6 and I’m earnestly awaiting Matthew, and no it’s not a dinner date. Okay if you’ve been checking out the news Matthew just happens to be Hurricane Matthew, followed a little too closely by his mischievous little sister Nicole (time to separate those two evil siblings). I figured I better write this shout out blog right now before I lose power to my trusty computer.
Today has been a bear, I’m telling you this hurricane stuff is not for the faint of heart. Here’s just a brief rundown of my day and it wasn’t pretty. READ MORE
How to Get a Handle on Saying It
Yes Person /JES-p3: (r) sen
- an affirmative* I really wanted you to say yes
- a human being * this is too difficult for one person to complete
Synonym: people pleaser, person who finds difficulty in saying the word no
I figured I’d look up the combo word “Yes Person” and give you “MY” definition of a person who is unable to say “NO”. I mean seriously, the condition starts at an early age and if you don’t get a handle on it, the suffering, burden, and hardship it can cause one is devastating to your health and welfare. You can’t sleep, you struggle with uncertainty, and making decisions become an effort. It can cause someone afflicted with “Yes Syndrome” to doubt their self-worth, and all this is for the sake of making someone “ELSE” happy. Okay, I’m being a little frivolous and tongue-in-cheek here but you get the point-“Not Being Able to Say No, Can Be Hazardous to Your Health”. READ MORE
“IN CASE YOU HAVENT NOTICED I’M…………………BLACK”
As a Black yoga instructor (as in African American) I think I’m uniquely qualified to conduct a survey among black women on “WHY MORE BLACK PEOPLE DON’T TAKE YOGA CLASSES”?
Top 6 answers in no particular order:
- The music is so “BORING”, I think I could fall asleep.
- As soon as I walk in the door “I feel out of place”.
- Black people “Don’t Do Yoga”.
- No one helps me when I know I’m doing that shit “WRONG”.
- All those women are skinny as hell, young, and dressed like they’re going to the club when they leave.
- NO ONE IN THAT DAMN ROOM IS BLACK!!!!!!!!!! Can we have a Black or Brown face in attendance; honestly anyone who looks remotely like me?
I feel they’re pain because some of it is my pain. I’ve been practicing yoga off and on since the 90’s, I got registered in 2013 as a yoga teacher and it’s been a Long, Lonely Road. With African Americans and Latino Americans being the largest racial and ethnic minorities in the United States, it really infuriates me (Translation-Pisses Me Off) that this is even an issue in 2016. We are quickly becoming a Minority Majority Nation but where’s the acknowledgement? Words such as Oblivious, Hypocritical, Invisible, and Unconscious come to mind because we are so “Overlooked” as a culture by the yoga community who appears “ASLEEP” at the wheel! READ MORE
The following is a dialogue between my Mind and my Body:
Mind: Wow, my instructor just said, “Inhale and twist a little deeper, she wants me to focus my breath into the twist. I’m so feeling this!
Body: I don’t know about this going deeper and breathing into the stretch thing, I think I’ve twisted enough-I’m Good, it’s a wrap. And, honestly how do you direct your breath into a particular appendage? Is this what they call, “Flowery Yoga Speak”? I don’t like it!
Mind: Shut up, I Got This!
Body: Ouch! I just acted a fool and over-directed my twist, now my damn back is THROBBING ! I knew I should have listened to my body.
Moral to the story:
The Mind might say, “I’m going to do Dancer Pose, but the Body thinks a Preparatory Quadricep Stretch is way more doable”
“Listen to Your Body”
Allow me to give you some personal history. Some years back my body played this ridiculously cruel trick on me, “It didn’t work on command-BUMMER”. Let me explain. I hate to admit this due to my embarrassment, but once upon a time I thought that modifying my yoga practice would make me appear sort of inadequate, you know “Less Able”. I’d been practicing for years and I wanted to appear like a Yoga Rock Star on the mat (talk about an out-of-whack sense of self). In my head I thought that modifying a pose was for those “OTHER PEOPLE”, certainly not me. And then I had the most humbling “YOGA” experience of my life, I pulled my groin muscle (talk about PAIN). It’s the weirdest feeling when your mind says “I Got This” but your body says, “I Refuse to Cooperate”. No problem I thought, I’ll just muscle through it-NOT! READ MORE
STOP THE JUDGEMENT, STOP THE HATE, BEGIN THE HEALING
“ALL LIVES MATTER”
In the past I’ve written about the topics that resonate with me, such as Breast Cancer Month and Mother’s Day, with just maybe a slight nod to yoga and its teachings. Since this blog is called Yoga From a Natural, Life On and Off the Mat, this issue is to some degree, “OFF” the mat-but major “ON” my mind. Let me walk you through the events of this past Sunday morning (6-12-16). I had plans; plans to work on a yoga practice, plans to clean my dirty house, walk the dog, maybe talk my husband into going to the movies, you know basically mindless stuff. But all that changed when I went upstairs to make sure my daughter was awake. I couldn’t even get the “What’s up” out of my mouth before she said, “Did you hear about the tragedy in Orlando”? I immediately went downstairs, flipped on my TV, and proceeded to have my mouth drop open! The only difference from what she told me is that the number dead was much higher. This senselessness wasn’t in some foreign, war torn country that I hear about on the 6 o’clock news, this was in my own back yard. My day from that point on was as if I was shell shocked; simply marking time. I watched CNN, flipped to my local news, then back to CNN in disbelief. I remember the same clips playing on a loop over and over again like a bad movie. READ MORE
I’m baffled by the horde of new-fangled yoga styles flooding the consumer market today and all in the pursuit of separating you from your hard fought cash. While the intent I believe is to fuse your love of various sports, hobbies, and leisure activities into one Awesome Pastime, I’m just not sure it’s doing the practice of yoga any good. On its face, one would think this could be real Cool, sort of like getting 2 for 1 (a twofer). Okay here’s my thinking , I’m a serious yoga enthusiast but just because I personally happen to love apple martinis, reading best sellers, and biking, doesn’t scream “THERE’S A YOGA PRACTICE TAILOR MADE FOR ME OUT THERE”.
Let me give you a brief rundown of some the original yoga styles I’m seeing and by “NO” means am I including all the new varieties: READ MORE
I just left my yoga class and I feel wonderful, no rejuvenated is a better word. The mere thought of going to yoga puts a smile on my face, no really the outer smile is nothing compared to my inner joy. Let me break it down to you from beginning to end:
(1) Visualize this; I’m heading off to my yoga class and I’m experiencing the kid equivalent of going out for 2 scoops of ice cream (I can’t wait)!
(2) I get there early to secure my most perfect spot; not too close. You see I personally prefer the back periphery area, great sightline but not so close as to be spotlighted by the class.
(3) As the lights dim I begin to disconnect because I’m wholly committed to hanging out in the “ME TIME ZONE”.
(4) The instructor starts to warm us up, this is pure tranquility. I’m so feeling the serene, melodious, tone of her voice; which is usually enough to make me drop my stress level down a notch or two.
(5) Wow, the sensation of that satisfying stretch across my shoulder blades and the release in my neck is “AWESOME”.
(6) The rest is history-I AM NOW OFFICIALLY in the Zen ZONE, Peace out!
Now here’s my personal home practice……………..No, seriously I didn’t just get writers block and forget to finish the previous sentence, it’s been pretty much nonexistent until recently. Sure I’d get bursts of Sun Salutation madness and I definitely practice Tree Pose daily like “WHEREVER”, because it’s my challenge pose due to my balance issues. But a consistent home practice for those days when I don’t go to or teach a class is, well let’s just say “I’m not winning any prizes for consistency”. Also, it goes without saying that “I Love Yoga” but a regular practice for those non-class days didn’t seem quite necessary, until a short time ago. READ MORE
Our Moms are the unsung heroes of our lives and let’s not forget the step-moms, mom surrogates, grandmothers, aunts, guardians, cousins, friends, and all those unnamed ladies who step up to the plate and take on whatever we preoccupied kids dish out. These wonderful ladies are our personal Sounding Boards, Cheerleader, UBER driver, ATM machine, Big Ben Timekeeper, Short-order Cook, Private shopper, and Secret Keeper all rolled into a mostly efficient, although “heck-a-tired” individual, that we refer to lovingly as Mom. I mean really who in their right mind will go to every football game their kid plays, scream like hell, call the ref out of his/her name, and seriously HATE THE GAME OF FOOTBALL all at the same time?
One Mom I talked to gleefully admitted she still has a bag of her daughters baby teeth stashed away. What you don’t know is that her baby is a 32 year old, successful business owner, with 2 and ¾ kids (she’s pregnant). Also, these aren’t just any old baby teeth, their individually dated baby teeth; now that’s what I call Mother’s Love. I’m not judging though because my daughter found her baby teeth rattling in a bag, plus a lock of her hair that I had secretly tucked away years ago and asked if I was practicing some sort of weird dark ritual or something (smile). Truthfully, don’t all Moms save the baby teeth, foot and handprints, or hair? Oddly enough, I feel the need to confess that I still have my EPT stick from when I found out I was pregnant-and NO I am not a hoarder but the stick reflects an achievement to me. Now that I think about it though, I guess the thought of saving an EPT pee stick tester in a baggy is pretty gross and strangely uncivilized. Oh well sue me-it’s my memory box (smile). READ MORE