Posts by Yogi Marcia Beckford

Place iRest Yoga Nidra Under Your Self-Care Umbrella

Posted on: April 2nd, 2017 By:
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“Yoga Nidra is a systematic method that inspires physical, mental and emotional relaxation. This class begins with gentle movements, then a long period spent reclined on the back, where you are guided through a specific form of meditation. Through bringing awareness throughout the body, Yoga Nidra will leave you with a sense of deep calm, quiet and clarity. All levels are welcome!  Kim Humphrey

Why Am I Doing YOGA NIDRA?

As with most classes at Sanctuary Yoga where the emphasis is on building community, there was an invitation to  introduce ourselves and state what we hope to experience or receive from participation in the class.  This class was just the right speed for my energy level at that time.  The word meditation as part of the description was one of the main attraction.  My stated intention for attending the Yoga Nidra class was to practice self-care and receive inspiration.  Other intentions were to relax, practice meditation, deal with insomnia, pain and more.  As I heard others state their intentions, all I could say is “Oh yeah! That too!”

Our teacher, Kim Humphrey, has experience working with special populations as a speech language pathologist and as a trained level One iRest Yoga Nidra Teacher  Kim .spoke about being part of a cohort group as she continues her advanced studies.  She introduced iRest Yoga Nidra as benefiting anyone wanting to make improvements with whatever was contributing to our suffering.  Stress, PTSD, anxiety, depression, mental/physical/emotional pain cause suffering.

and so, we begin

Another invitation with some suggestions followed the introduction of Yoga Nidra.  The invitation was to move our body in a way that our body wanted to move.  There was a suggestion to begin with Child Pose.  From there, we listened to our body.  I’m not sure what anyone else did, but I did some  Cat Cow Pose to relieve tension in my torso; Downward-Facing Dog just because I always want to check to see if it’s felling like a restful pose (not yet); Forward Bend to hang my head, stretch my lower back and release tension in my shoulder;  and moving hips side to side.

Mat, bolster, blanket, block and whatever else makes you feel comfortable.

Mat, bolster, blanket, block and whatever else makes you feel comfortable.

Choice in Posture

We were given a choice in posture to use during the meditation portion of the Yoga Nidra class, along with a recommendation.  We could stand, we could sit, we could rest on bolsters, blankets and blocks (recommended).   After you took care of placing bolsters, blankets, and blocks for maximum relaxation we than began scanning the body.

I did not listen to the suggestion to use a blanket as a pillow.  But I think it’s a good suggestion because I had to readjust my body a couple of times

What's under your self-care umbrella?

What’s under your self-care umbrella?

MEDITATION: Scanning and Breathing

Begining with a focus on the left side balanced with a focus on the right side of all body parts.  I particularly remember feeling grateful for the attention I gave my gum and mouth.  Or, maybe my mouth and gum felt grateful for the attention I gave them during the scan.  It’s sort of blurry.

There was a sense of accepting whatever I was feeling and sensing.  Breathing into the body part added to the sense of loving attention that was given to that body part.  Breathing into the body parts added to the physical relaxation.

When there were parts of my body that felt tense. I just adjusted my body for maximum relaxation.

The directions seemed so intricate.  I can’t think of an example, but I remember thinking “what precise and intricate directions.”  These directions helped me stay awake and aware of thoughts and feelings  that came and went as we scanned the body.

At the end of the Integrated Restoration Yoga Nidra class, it felt the class offered  more movement than what’s offered in restorative yoga classes.  There was less teacher directed movement than what’s offered in a regular yoga class.  And Yoga Nidra offered more meditation time than what’s offered in the other yoga meditation classes.  This meditation reminded me of the small group meditation classes I’d been taking with Lynne Silver.

I left the class feeling relaxed, loved and as a practitioner of self-care. My favorite part was scanning the body and breathing into that body part. I saw the class as a great addition under the self-care umbrella.

Spending Time in Nature

Posted on: March 11th, 2017 By:
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Spending time in nature feeds your spiritual side, slow things down and to help you realize the connection between everything. In the past, my time in nature included hikes with the Sierra Club.  There were hour-long walks around  what’s now known as Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail after work and on weekends.  The meetup group, Creative in Nature, (possibly inactive now) also provided leisurely walks in nature and allowed time for creative endeavours from participants.

Encouraging a slower pace and a smile

slow-down-enjoy-the-beautyNature encourages a slower pace.  Have you noticed?  Is this true when walking  The Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail?  Or have you noticed instead that lots of folks are in a hurry.  Joggers pushing their babies in walkers.  Runners some with serene looks others wincing and with heavy breathing as they pass you by.   Being in nature slows some but not everyone down.  On the other hand these are the same people who may offer you a smile.  So maybe they’re not meant to slow down but to smile more often.

occasionally, you may luck out to see a family strolling along the trail.  It’s a true gift to catch a glimpse of the leisurely strollers.  They seem out-of-place with the fast paced walkers, joggers and runners.  You may see adults walking at a leisurely pace that their elderly parents  or very children may keep pace and enjoy.  The conversations and laughter serve as clues.  If you’re lucky, you become the leisurely stroller on the trail.

Unstructured playtime

There a lots of pit stops that encourage the slow down on the trial.  There is the off-leash dog section.  This is a great place to watch the dogs frolicking on land and in the water.  Dogs trying to climb trees to catch birds or squirrels.

Pausing on the fixed platforms gives a great view of  water fowls like ducks and swans.  It’s incredible to see them move fast across the water.  They always seem to travel as a family.  If you see a large super large swan, it’s not a real swan.  That one is for rent.

These platforms allow  you to throw balls for the dog to fetch.  Spend time looking for the water ripples.  Or, better yet throw a line to catch a fish with the other fisher people.  Are the fishes edible?  Is fishing allowed?

Encourage the young into nature

“In the end we will conserve only what we love;

we will love only what we understand;

and we will understand only what we are taught.” (Baba Dioum)

Some of what we hear about the need to care for our environment is driven by groups that   want to build a love of nature.  By regularly connecting families to nature Outdoor Afro and Families in Nature hope to build genuine love with hands on education in the outdoors. Taking steps to simplify the process so that participants don’t spend time worrying about equipment and gear.  This may include basic everyday steps or longer more complicated trips.  Yet another group is Austin-Texas Children in Nature .

Sanctuary Yoga offers Greenbelt Yoga at Barton Springs on Saturdays.  The location of the studio itself encourages a love of nature because it provides yoga with a view of a tree in the middle of the yard.  Check with the instructor to see if children are allowed during Greenbelt Yoga.

One simple way to enjoy nature is as close as your backyard.  Just bend down and look at the plants and their inhabitants for a few minutes. It’s quite a view and a mystery to see them coming and going about their business while they walk on your plants.

Engaging in Conversations

Posted on: February 24th, 2017
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Have you ever had to attend an event that you felt was far, far away.  Many, who live in south Austin, may consider events held in north Austin as being far.  This meeting was held in Pflugerville.  The purpose was to engage in conversation with others, some of different cultures, nationalities and faith, as if sitting on  The Red Bench.  We discussed the topic of Grace.  These conversations help us share our perspective and, if we’re lucky, give us a better understanding of another person’s perspective.   According to Interfaith Austin, the red bench is a symbol of a place for conversations that “cultivate peace and respect.”

 

Conversations with Others

“No one is more influential in your life than you are.”  Yoga teacher

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Before the verbal conversations began, there are nonverbal cues.  There are smiles. Nods.  Waves.  Claiming space by placing personal items.  I sat at the top of the table and got non verbal cues that I was in another’s personal space.  It didn’t seem so at first until I moved across from the person and recognized different boundary lines.  Moving helped change my perspective.

During verbal conversations, there were interesting perspectives about the meaning of the word.  Each definition flavored by the person’s life experience.  All definitions including the Divine.  The benefit of this group is that there are some basic ‘rules’ to follow that allow everyone to freely speak.  I’ve often left there thinking “I’ve never heard anyone say that!”  Or, “I can’t believe they said that.” or ” What an interesting or controversial or unique way of thinking.”

It turns out that in these conversation groups, the act of listening by far exceeds talking in  importance.  My intention when participating in these types of conversations as a  practice, is that the practice will carry over into the other conversations I have outside the group.

 

Conversations with Self

gentlefoothappyfeetConversations before  and after class are part of the yoga experience.  You may hear a few conversations  between friends before class and after class.  During class, you may hear quick conversations between students and the teacher.  The most important conversations happen during class between you and your body parts.

I have to admit I talk to my body parts.  Most of my conversations are of the friendly variety.  Letting body parts know that I am their friend and will do my best to help them complete the asana.  No exercise is worth a scream.  No body parts need to yell either.  But, a few parts have yelled.

The ankle may scream during a balance pose  “Hey, that’s enough!”  I sometimes listen or I may cajole it by saying, “Just a few seconds longer and I promise to give you a massage.”

The thighs may yell,”I don’t want to go lower” during a squat.  I let it know that it will naturally go down during the exhale.  “We will use the breath to help us.”

“Acknowledge yourself for the work you’ve done on the mat.” Yoga teacher

 

If you see me walking you may catch me patting my back.  It’s because I’m telling myself “Good job, Marcia!”

Parking Spaces

Posted on: February 10th, 2017 By:
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Recently, I was on queue  in line to get a parking space at one of my favorite eating places. The driver behind me decided to ‘skip’ the line in order to get the next available parking space.  I parked behind the ‘skipper.’   I felt annoyed.  Then anger.

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Neither of us had kind eyes.

The ‘line cutter’ now had two options.  Drive ahead to let the parked car driver out.  Or, remain there to get the parking space making it a bit more difficult for the parked car driver to get out.  I too had choices.

She chose to stay and the driver maneuvered successfully out of the parking space.  When she got out of the car, our eyes met.  Neither of us had kind eyes.  I laughed later.  Yeah! I laughed!   It took a while, but laugh I did.

I didn’t get the parking space.  There was no escalation into a verbal confrontation.  Her tactics worked.  I accepted the outcome and moved on.  What I got instead, was something unexpected.

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“Wow!” I thought.   What happened is great material for Laughter Yoga.

During Laughter Yoga, participants when asked,  relive scenarios that explore all types of life events that elicit different feelings and emotions.

Participants when asked,  dramatize scenarios while making sounds and/or laughing.  This is one, albeit, controversial way to learn acceptance of many events in life that elicit different emotions. No need to act on the emotion.  No need to judge, no need to blame, no need to fix.

For a while during that day, while driving , I noticed other hurried drivers cutting in front of me.  This is one aspect of driving in Austin during certain times. I took time to notice the changes in how I felt.

 

All of this happened before a yoga class.  Speaking of parking spaces, yoga classes are great places to park when looking for emotional balance.

(1)  Just the fact that you stop and take time to set an intention before the class.

(2) Keep the intention in mind during the practice.

(3)Take sanctuary in the room and on the mat during practice.

(3) End the practice with thanking yourself for taking time to for the practice.

(5) Let’s not forget the breath with the intention in mind during practice.

Speaking of laughter, there’s a really funny video that shows that cutting in line successfully is a skill that deserves respect.  Even if you don’t agree, you’ll laugh at the notion.  Enjoy!

If laughter and yoga isn’t enough, there is always Mr. Rogers.

What do you do with the mad that you feel? 

when you feel so mad you could bite.

Know that there’s something deep inside

that helps us become what we can.

Getting on Your Knees

Posted on: January 25th, 2017 By:
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In life, as in yoga, getting on your knees can help.

It’s allergy season in Austin.   Austin will have varying amounts of  cedar, mold, cottonwood, oak, ragweed, ash, pine, mulberry, elm, poplar.  The allergen-tested folks  remain informed by closely watching the website that give the latest allergy count.   Many anticipate and prepare before-hand.  Others use traditional/alternative medications during the season.  When experiencing the effects of allergies, I find it best to get on  my knees.  To kneel is be in or assume a position in which the body is supported, as when praying or showing submission. There are many benefits to getting on your knees.

During yoga class, there are different reasons for getting on your knees.  A yogi may get on their knees to transition from standing yoga to sitting yoga.  They may get on their knees to pause and rest from a series of poses.  They may get on their knees to realign their hands, fingers, torso and change the positions of their feet and toes.

Getting on your knees: pause and slow down

“It is your practice!”  – yoga teacher reminding us to use our inner guidance.

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Pause to get on your knees for the ‘rabbit pose.’

During this allergy season it’s hard not to marvel at the body’s ability to produce mucus. It’s a great time to pause and support the body by hydrating with water, soups, steam and other liquids to help thin the mucus.

Taking time to support the body with movement  that matches the body’s level of energy and helps any fluid flow easily in the body.

 

 

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A favorite blanket.

Pausing  to support the body with extra rest never seems like a bad idea.  Snuggling with a favorite blanket adds comfort to this type of pause.  My favorite blanket is a Simply Shabby Chic  2-ply with roses and pink satin trim that feels weighted.

As in life, yoga asks that you get on your knees.   When your body asks for a slower pace, getting on your knees  as the class continues with a pose, is a perfect position to offer a pause.  It may also be that getting on your knee is part of the pose.    In class, The rabbit pose felt restful and helped relieve congestion.

Getting on your knees: pause and realign

“We are all born from a place of infinite love, peace and bliss.” A yoga teacher reminder.

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A visit to Zilker Park to pause and re-align

During a yoga class, there are lots of decisions  made.  Do I have the energy level to complete the pose?  Are my arms, hands and fingers in a right alignment.  How about the toes, the feet, the legs, the hips?  Do I need to pause and re-align before moving on with the pose?  Do I need to pause and re-align the movements with the breath?   It’s a good use of time to get on my knees to realign with breath and body before continuing the pose.

As in yoga, life asks that you re-align.  Even with allergies, it feels good to   take time for 10 to 20  minutes of sitting on the grass in the sun in the park.  Breathing fresh air, watching people and animals can feel relaxing.  Also using the time to just breathe, realign and connect.  “I love this.”  “I love that.”

A yoga sequence may include what I call “the reverse push up”. Ugh! ” I love this pose.”  “I  love this pose.”   With lengthy limbs, long arms especially, the distance to travel seems far to go up and seems far to go down gracefully.  This sequence feels easier by getting on the knees.  It feels easier to realign the arms closer to the body and to move the body forward before moving downward.

Life, like yoga is a work in progress made easier by getting on the knees to pause, rest, slow down and realign.

A dog as a reminder of a conquered fear

Posted on: January 15th, 2017 By:
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…thinking about situations that bring up …fear

Let’s me tell you about an fear-filled situation.    Our lovable pet dog turned vicious one day and bit my sister and I when we were children.   The dog chased us around the house.  It was foaming at the mouth.  My sister and I  ran and screamed in fear.  Our little legs did not outrun the dog.  One by one the dog caught us  and bit us.  The fear, the bite, the rabid dog.

Bending the needle in fear

What happened next, were actions steeped in fear and justifiably so.  A bite from a rabid dog requires a series of rabies shot around the navel.  I remember that first visit for shots well.  Why?   Because my dear sister fought the providers  to avoid the injection.  Her struggles and the determination of the providers caused the needle to bend.  The needle bent in her stomach.  Everyone felt more fear.  My sister and I got our series of injections.

Why did that memory come up? I was thinking about situations  real or imagined that bring up a feeling of fear.

Of course every time I saw a dog after that experience, I held my breath and made decisions. The decision to stand my ground or to run in fear.  Or,  to pet or not to pet.  A decision to ignore the dog or to look directly at the dog. The decision that helped me the most was my decision was to breathe!

Just because you feel the fear doesn’t mean you can’t do it.  Do it afraid.~Joyce Meyer.

Pillow: a reminder of less fear

My two children are animal lovers and dog owners.  I’m glad that I didn’t waste any time passing down a fear of dogs.   The fear was short-lived and  did not become a phobia.  My dog’s name is Pillow.

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What was there to fear? With matted hair, filled with burrs.

Pillow walked into the school with matted hair.  Her coat filled with burrs.  She “peed” in the classroom. Not many wanted to touch her.  As soon as I saw her I knew she was the perfect dog.  Staff members helped to make that a reality by helping us avoid the ‘dog police’ when they came to pick her up.

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I was able to overcome a fear of dogs.

 

 

 

Some funny things about Pillow.  She pauses to stretch when called.  You have to wait for her to do the downward dog first.  She eats salads, cooked vegetables and nuts.  Pillow shows no fear near large dogs.

Pillow does show fear and may trembles if you blow in her face.  If you make weird noises. If you try to kiss her.  She has trained me to pet her when she nudges my hand.

Pillow is an important reminder of a time that I was able to overcome a fear.  This is important to me because of any current fears, imagined or real.

Compassion and Less fear

Try having compassion to reduce your fears.  Have compassion for yourself as a fearful person.  Try to have compassion for whatever you fear.

Increase your compassionate thoughts by using affirmations.  Watch videos and read uplifing books to change your fearful thoughts and feelings.   Exercise by walking or doing yoga.  See a counselor.

Get a dog to walk with, talk to and watch their silly antics.

“Why does watching a dog be a dog fill one with happiness?”~Jonathan Safran Foer

 

The Smell of Yoga

Posted on: January 5th, 2017 By:
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No one can argue with wanting a good smelling yoga area.

“You smell nice!” The words heard as I walked into a favorite class,  Yoga and Meditation.  A yogi to the right of me commented on the pleasant smell that came from my direction.  A compliment, well received.  The pleasant scent might have come from the use of an  essential oil.  Or,  the use of scented hand wipes provided at Whole Foods.

Yoga studios, at best, may smell of incense or the wood floor. That’s because yogis often, but not always, take steps before class to not smell.   Take a shower.  Wear clean clothing.  Use deodorant.  Avoid wearing strong-smelling perfumes.

Not long ago, I made an effort to keep the surrounding space smelling nice.  What effort did I take to keep a pleasant smelling space?  Well, one thing I did was to tighten my butt sphincter muscles to keep the fart(s) in.  A well-practiced skill learned as an elementary school teacher.  We hold our pee and farts.

 

SILENT OR LOUD

Is holding a fart a good practice?  Maybe yes or maybe no.  Few would even want to spend time discussing that point.  No one can argue, though, with wanting a non-offensive smelling yoga area.  No need to stress!  There are a few ways to maintain the good yoga studio smell.  Let’s talk about ways around the need to fart.

EATING!

Avoid eating one hour before class; two hours if your digestion is slow. If you have to eat before class, then eat what your body digests easily.  Eat non-gas producing foods.  You alone know what that means for your body.   But, if you don’t?  Google is your friend.

TOO LATE, YOU ATE!

There is always water at the table outside of most studio entrance door.  Use that as a nice excuse to go outside, to free your fart, to get some water, and then return to class.

PRIVACY!

Not enough privacy?  Then, the bathroom is convenient and offers more privacy.

RELEASE THE KRAKEN!

Not enough time?  Can’t hold it in?  Don’t want to disturb the flow of the class by leaving the room?  Too late, the pose is Downward Dog?   Or, Wide-Legged Forward Bend?  Happy Baby? Easy Pose? The fart is coming.  Just ‘release the kraken!’  Farting is a natural process.  Silent or loud, many fart in a class. All know about farts. Take care of yourself. No one will single you out.  They may laugh to themselves and may think “better you than me.”

PRACTICE!

Did you know that three are some, for medical reasons, bloating and/or gas, have an actual need to fart.  There are a few yoga asanas  that actually help you to release the wind.   Practice those and let your private studio space smell as it may.

Citizens shall be allowed to pass gas whenever necessary. –  Emperor Claudius

BREATH WORK

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Breathe in the sweet smell of nature.

This advice may not seem to add to the smell of yoga.   I have often said things that sound like farts and then comes regret. Regret breeds stress.   Whether your farts are verbal or actual,  the one activity  that always helps with the decision to not stress is breathing.  Breathing as if you’re in nature.

What ever you decide to do with your farts, focus on the breath.  You are in a yoga class where every, and I do mean every, teacher emphasizes breath work.  Every asana uses the  breath:  nose breathing or combination nose and open mouth; before, during and/or after.

Inhale – (Fill the chest cavity, the lungs, rib cage, and diaphragm)

Hold – Kumbhaka Pranayama (Breath Retention)

Exhale – (Empty the diaphragm, the  rib cage, the lungs, and chest cavity)

Love the smell of yoga!

Loving the self: Sharing with a friend

Posted on: December 23rd, 2016 By:
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 Sharing a meal with a new friend

Friendship is nothing more than sharing. Elie Wiesel

Friendship is nothing more than sharing. Elie Wiesel

Loving the self came with sharing a meal.  Sharing a meal with a stranger.  This happened at the tail end of  cooking and as I was serving the meal to my two children, Robert and Alycia. She knocked at my door selling insurance.  What stood out was the fact that she toted, Leona, her baby with her.  Buying insurance was not in my budget.  The budget included only health insurance for our family and car insurance.

Then she commented on the scent of the food.  I invited her to sit at the table.  We shared a meal and we have been friends ever since.  Her daughter is now 28.

 

 

I take time to love the me that invited a stranger for a meal.

sharing what we want to see

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…the type of bottle that invites you to save pennies…

It’s December and we have decided to meet for breakfast at Angie’s Mexican Restaurant.  You can pretty much get what you want to eat keeping in mind that it is a Mexican restaurant.

Walking after a meal aids digestion.   The neighborhood seemed to serve an invitation to walk with wider sidewalks.  We notice the condos and other changes.  Some call it gentrification others call it something else.

Treasure City Thrift Shop bustles with men and women rummaging through clothes, walking around touching, holding, assessing items.  Some children play with old toys.  The large bottle looked familiar.  You know the type of bottle that invites  you to save  pennies and other coins.  This particular bottle looked thicker.  The design and pattern lent some distinction.  We both agreed that $10 seemed reasonable until she took it to the counter and the cashier asked for $40.  I guess our eyes saw what we wanted to see.  We could now clearly see the $40.

I take time to love the me that saw what it wanted to see.

Sharing what I have to offer

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Restorative Yoga … to heal and relax

I regularly donate blood with the intention of keeping my iron levels balanced;  for getting information on my physical health; and, with the intention of helping others.  The needles always feel too big for my veins.  They bite and leave a mark.  My friend tells me that her daughter was recently hospitalized because of low iron levels.  Her condition was severe  and she needed two blood transfusions to elevate those levels.  Blood donation has always felt unpleasant until hearing this news.

My friend gladly takes the information about and recommendation for Restorative Yoga for her daughter to heal and relax in order to better figure out her next move.  The article 10 Benefits of Restorative Yoga  explains the importance of this type of yoga.  Here are the first two:

  1. Slows Down the Pace of Life:  disconnect from the frenetic activity of daily life and let your speedometer return to 0 mph.
  2. Soothing to the Nervous Systemoverall calming effect on the nervous system sets a deeply relaxing tone …that comforts your mind and body….

 

I take time to love the me that shares what I have to offer.

Accepting changes

We’ve walked for an hour.  Made one stop in the store.  At the tail end of the walk, twenty-eight years that have passed since we met is apparent in visible and invisible changes.

During our conversation we say ‘Yes’,  we are sexy and we know it!  We’re both wise enough to agree to disagree about Clinton and Trump because who the hell knows what’s really going on there.   We admire our gray hairs in the super short afro and the long dreadlocks.  We don’t speak about our slightly jiggly middle.  My ankles and feet hurt.  She has to run back to the restaurant to make it to the bathroom.

I take time to love these changes from years of living.

Sharing time with a friend helps me feel like a better friend to myself!

Feeding With the Emotion of Joy in Mind

Posted on: December 16th, 2016 By:
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Choose an activity that you enjoy.

It’s the holiday season and free food will be abundant.  New and old friends and family members will feed us.  Before taking a bite we may want to look at why we gravitate to certain foods. Gravitating towards sweets, as in my case, suggests other reasons besides a sweet tooth.  Better yet, along with eating the sweets, I found other ways to satisfy this urge.

Dr. Deanna Minich, a nutritionist, recommends  an activity you enjoy and can indulge in for just 30 minutes per day to better sate the real reason for the cravings for sweet foods.  The real reason, says Dr. Minich, is to experience the joy, the sweetness of life.  Apparently, no one recommends over indulgence in sweets.  So it seems best to  look at other ways to experience joy.  Let’s look at  the joy of food, yoga and dance.

Friends, Food and Joy

Feeding the sweet tooth.

Visiting old friends is the activity I chose for feeding the emotions with the joy of food.  The invitation  was for a “holiday Open House” at Morning Mist Retreats in Round Rock.  A place offering meditation and a variety of workshops.   The invitation was to celebrate the completion of the Japanese tea House.  And, so we did with the use of sage, drumming, singing and even some  dancing.

My joy-filled contributions to the group included the Laughter Yoga victory chant -“Very Good, Very Good! Yeah!  I also go to demonstrate “punta” the national dance from Honduras.  You need sturdy thighs and legs to dance this flat-footed-butt shaking dance for more than 1 minute.

The visit with old and new friends included feeding my emotions with actual food.  Yummy brownies, egg, scones, pudding, pies, crackers and fruit flavored cheese.  The variety of sweets partnered with proteins such as deviled eggs, mixed nuts definitely fed the sweet tooth.

Friends, Yoga and Joy

Yoga at Sanctuary Yoga is one of the activities I chose as part of feeding the emotion with the joy of yoga. The 8 a.m. Hatha class with new friend Leena Ladd offered many opportunities.  All instructors are friends.  My intention was to feel the joy in whatever arose in class.   And, I did!

I found myself feeding on the stretch of the Seated Forward Bend; and, feeding on the restfulness of the Child Pose ; and, feeding on the funny attempts at Tree Pose.  Any pose that brought attention to the feet, only reminds me of the healings offered to  my beloved ankles and  feet.

My favorite activity was feeding on the calming effect of the six counts on the inhale and six count on the exhale as suggested by Leena.  And, especially the time spent on Alternate Nostril Breath.  Breathing is one of the easiest things to do and most of us may not  even do that to our benefit.

To top things off, I took Restorative Yoga classes,  the “dessert of yoga.”  Yummy!

Building Community by Sharing More Than a Chair

Posted on: December 9th, 2016 By:
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It is Friday! I am unemployed and I have somewhere to go.  As part of building community, Sanctuary Yoga offered a free blogger’s workshop.

Building Community:

What was appealing about sharing this time?  I actually met three other bloggers that participated in the Sanctuary Yoga Austin community. That meant three more people, besides friends and family to bounce off ideas. They, like me, are in the process of building their blogger muscles.

The Presenter

Ryan Jordan, our presenter, gave the extra information we needed to move our blogs from ‘okay that’s good’  to a bit more ‘this is what may prove useful for the google seeker.’   He would know as the former education director of the Amala Foundation.

I got some snippets about his exciting trip to Africa as part of his work for Amala.

The Location

The community upstairs studio with a view.

The workshop was located at Sanctuary Yoga.  Better yet, we got to attend the workshop in  the studio space upstairs.  A lovely spot filled with enough furniture for comfort and with a lovely view of the yard and the  famous tree.

While waiting, I broused through, Live for the Soul, a book written by Vanessa Stone, the founder of Amala.   I actually wrote down some words of inspiration.  The way I am hardwired, sharing a new space takes some effort on my part.  Her words hit the right spot.

 

Untie the knots around your tender heart

Allow it to breathe

Offer it

Let it be seen

This is the beginning

The call of a new life

Although, not the original people, this photo shows that sharing a chair can add to the fun.

sharing a chair

Volunteers provided a community lunch in the main house and we were invited.  The community of volunteers cooked the food, set up the dishes, arranged the chairs, and washed the dishes.  Our goal was to enjoy and participate by sharing our words, feelings and thoughts with quite a diverse group (age, gender, ethnicity, hair color).

The lunch included some type of peanut butter soup, a cabbage salad, roasted cauliflour, quinoa.  I make soup every week so my main focus was the soup.  Yummy!  Reminded me of the gravy of a dish a friend from Nigeria made but with meat.

As the people outnumbered the chairs, I was invited to share a chair.  The closeness encouraged  intimacy in my talk with my fellow blogger.  We mostly discussed how pleased we were to be part of this ‘new to us’ community.  And, our new journey to redefine our work life.

My Friday was filled with gifts as our yoga community shared.