Sometimes @ Window Seat

Sometimes, if I’m lucky, I can move through a motion like pulling a curtain back in the morning and feel this awareness of young Erin, 8 year old Erin, who has grown.

Hard to put into words, this awareness feels like « oh so this is what happened ». There is a quality of wonder and appreciation. Like I am seeing who I wanted to be when I grew up and stepping into the power that it is, in fact, me.

In teaching these days, I try to provide a path to this feeling. Many times in my personal practice, my hand will find its way to rest on my rib cage or my one foot will tuck under the other and I’ll witness the other worldly way the body comforts and supports itself.

I believe it is in the moments in yoga when the body interacts with the body or when the breath guides the body into a pose (either through vinyasa or through restorative release) that doors open to connect with who you have always been.

When you witness your body and allow yourself to delight in things like « huh, this is how you like to stretch when you wake » or « how funny I always go to the right side first », you invite the same observatory appreciation to things like « I laugh like that when… » or to parts of your personality that are truly you; unmasked and unmade by others.

All the sudden, you trace your hand under the running faucet or you smooth the sheet in a way just so that you see yourself. Your movement, a constant paintbrush – your energy, a constant color.

I believe these things to be very, very true. As in these things, we come to a place of non violence – of grace – within ourselves. This place fruits compassion for others, an honor of limits and space for self study.

It’s in yoga, I find the heartiest season of advent: the expectation of peace, the surrender to goodwill, and the rest available in what we can imagine an unconditional, non judge mental love feels like.

The refuge.

The light.

Now it’s time to create

All Saints Day Devotion & Meditation

Sit in a quiet space. See to it that you feel a great amount of comfort, as guided by your intuition. You can do this meditation on a person you have lost personally or on behalf of somebody you know who is grieving. You do not have to know the person personally to be able to stand in the gap for those who have buried their family or friends. You may also think of a cultural loss – such as all of those lost in this pandemic and their family and friends who mourn them.

Ideas:

  • Mug of hot water
  • Light a candle
  • Favorite perfume or oil
  • Article of clothing that fits loosely, feels soft on the skin
  • Draw the curtains or play with the natural light
  • Place a mirror in a thoughtful position
  • Toss a blanket in the dryer for a bit
  • Dab the lips with vaseline, rub lotion onto the feet or massage the wrists

Once you are situated, have your phone or printed paper with these instructions nearby. Read a section and then sit with it for a moment. When the mind gets restless (which may be right away, that is fine) move on to the next section.

Warm Up

  • Breathe in through the nose and sigh the exhale out of an open mouth
  • In a seated pose, circle the torso forward and then back, curving the spine. Think about “knocking easy tension” off the body as your circle. Let the neck and head be a part of your movement, Get into it.
  • Your meditation while breathing in this manner and moving in this manner: “Be Near, Assurance”
  • Continue circling, breathing with this meditation until you feel a little buzz, you grow weary, you naturally stop. Pause in the stillness and continue with the meditation “Be Near, Assurance” and bring your loved one, family or friend, to mind and notice the sensation in the body.

Pose 1

  • Breathe in through the nose and sigh the exhale out of an open mouth, allowing yourself to be audible in your exhales
  • Stretch the body out on a mat, blanket or in your bed – take a full body stretch.
  • Position a cushion or firm pillow under the knees. Roll a blanket under the ankles. Allow a thin cushion under the neck. If you have an eye cushion, lay it over the eyes.
  • Your meditation while breathing in this manner, in this pose, will be “Assurance, I see you”
  • Rest in this pose for anywhere from 6 – 15 minutes. Feel free to set a timer or simply just rest. Witness the breath and bring to mind any thoughts, memories, smells or nostalgic remnants of your loved one. As you experience this pose, have the words “Assurance, I see you” accompany your feelings and the thoughts or images that arise.

Pose 2

  • Breathe in through the nose, allowing yourself to make a snoring sound. Sometimes it takes a minute to find this! But a classic “waking snore” can relieve a lot of tension and add an element of humor to your practice that burns a little stubborn ego off.
  • Lay on your right side. Position a pillow between the two legs. Ensure the head is supported. Position the body against a firm cushion, a pillow up against a wall or a bolster in order to feel a sense of support at your back. Hands to clasp or in prayer pose is ideal, but go for comfort above all else.
  • Your meditation while snoring in this pose will be, “I assure you”
  • Rest in this pose for anywhere from 6 – 15 minutes. When the snoring naturally subsides or if it becomes “work”, let it go. Notice the freedom possible in repeating “I assure you” on an inhale without having to say “who” is “you” or “what” you are assuring anybody for. Rather, the energy and compassion behind such words are what we are manifesting in the repetition.

Final Rest

  • Allow the breath to come and go as it may in your final rest
  • Lay on your back once again or with the legs up the wall, especially if you have anxiety or have had an anxious day. Support the body similar to in pose 2.
  • Your meditation while resting in this pose will be, “I am here”
  • Rest in this pose, inviting the person you have loved and lost to see you. For the spirit to draw near. For a sense of calm and peace.

I will be praying for all of those taking this practice. I pray regularly for the grieving, for the suffering. If this is you, know you are being held.

Namaste :)

one certain thing @ my yoga mat in webster

If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that one of these five kids is going to be talking to their therapist at some point in their twenties and will experience a major break through when their therapist smiles and says, “Honey! YOU *can* get a medium concrete!” all thanks to my sincere commitment to the belief that a small really is enough.

And I do think that. David has ordered mediums for me a couple of times and I never finish them. I have been generous and gone against this belief before to find my daughters’ forgotten half eaten medium concretes and slushies in the freezer “for later”.

Part of the reason they will be in therapy about this is because it is the true battle of what you believe (small is enough) and what you want (a medium).

I believe they will also believe that smalls are enough (on some level) because my belief, in its affliction upon them, has proven itself to be true.

Life updates seem a little mundane these days. I struggle writing about the day to day because I am not really sure how it will translate. I am learning a lot about grace and forgiveness and am back studying some yoga phenomenons that I have been witnessing in my regular-ish restorative practice.

It has been well over a year since I have taught a slow flow as restorative, meditation, yin and gentle yoga have been more of my immediate audiences’ appetite. With that, I woke up on Thursday unable to move my head in a complete circle and have been experiencing major pain for a couple of days.

Part of this is because I have miles on the car and my body is my body and it is crooked in places it used to be straight. But I also am victim (like many) to weakened muscles in the neck and shoulders due to screen time and those weakened muscles, when shocked – jerked – or strained unhinged tend to kink up.

I am also extremely tight in my shoulders and back. I would say this probably is related to two years of lots of cross country travel, airplane rides and road trips as well as day to day life stressors relative to change, automatic bill pay and working for the man.

Yoga Nidra teaches there are the “threefold tensions”: muscular tension, emotional tension and mental tension. As forementioned, I have (although less now than 5 days ago) all three in my body. Likely, so do you.

Normal relaxation is understood to be closing the eyes, resting back and taking a break from the things you are plugged into. However, yoga nidra (yoga sleep) goes a little beyond this. Google it. It’s a life changing experience using revolving awareness of 61 points of the body to basically rock your consciousness to sleep while your awareness transitions to your subconsciousness and (if you’re lucky) your unconsciousness. AKA your motherboard where all your wiring and habits and beliefs (like how a small concrete is enough) live.

The first successful (although any yogic sleep is successful in that you will at least play with the consciousness) experience I had, I woke up to the image *and sensation* of a skeleton becoming dislodged from the center of my chest and relieving my body of its stagnant bony complex.

Incredible. I was hooked.

I started up nidra again last night, with my neck in shooting throbbing pain supported by a sandbag. Yes. A sandbag. Although I am pretty sure my attention got off at the exit before entering my subconsciousness, my body relaxed and I fell asleep. I woke up with full movement and a little cold nerve hangover.

I am committed to resurrecting a slow flow practice at home, even if I am not teaching. Today I got into an inversion – though shaky – and I played a lot with shifting my weight into my arms. I also heard that pulling your head back so you have triple chins for 20 seconds ever hour or so during the day is super good for you. I am hoping my slow flow practice builds up some strength and evens me out a bit. I am hoping my nidra continues to release the tension in threefold manner.

I am studying nidra again to go a little deeper into sankalpas. Rumor has it that use of sankalpas in your yoga nidra practice can actually re-wire some of that motherboard program… call it karma… archetypes… religious beliefs that won’t go away…

And I need that right now. I am getting quiet in my days and – though nothing is wrong – my heart is aching a little bit. I am thinking the shedding of the muscular tension is letting me get into some emotional tension that can be released. I want this to transform my generosity and my service towards others. AH! OMG – honestly? I’m flow of consciousness here… that may just be my sankalpa. (They say it is usually a courser, broader, directional thing than a “quit smoking” thing.)

Ok. WISH ME LUCK. Anybody out there tried yoga nidra with sankalpas??