|Cool Pic of Fallingwater in minature from Morris Arboretum|
Patience is not always my best virtue. I have struggled with holding space for my life to unfold and sometimes wishing it would come faster aligning with my own agenda. I saw this in my previous life working in corporate where I felt that my life and career should take off from the get go. I had a plan and indeed some things did go according to my plan, but others not so much. I don't think I had much patience in my twenties or even early thirties. I didn't have the wherewithal or the maturity then to pace myself, and instead of pushing the unfolding, to watch it.
Fast forward to the past eighteen years of studying, practicing and teaching yoga, and I am whistling a different tune. To be truthful, I do still get inpatient both with myself and others but it is very tampered down. Something changed along the way from my early corporate career through to my yoga career and practice. Some of it was maturity but I believe that my patience grew from very own yoga practice.
I began taking yoga classes because I was curious. I definitely thought it would be a bunch of mumbo jumbo pretzel tying exercises. You guessed it, I was wrong. My first few classes were eye opening and even more so, because I found out that I was 5 weeks pregnant. Lucky for me, I landed in a yoga class where the teacher was well versed in prenatal yoga. I pushed myself for the first 3 months of the class, always seeking the end result. Since I was a runner, I was always looking ahead to the finish line. What I came to find out is that there really is no finish line in yoga. We are constantly changing, evolving, regressing some days, moving forward others. Even as I practiced yoga during my first pregnancy and gave birth, there was no finish line. Yes, yoga helped prepare me for the birth of my daughter but even more in my role as a parent.
In my role as a teacher throughout these past 10 years, I have caught glimpses of my past impulse to rush to the end result. But overall, I have set a pace with my life that enables me to enjoy the moments where previously I felt stalled. It is those moments between breaths, the pauses, that really made the difference. There is beauty in the unfolding of life. Would I redo those younger years with all of my wisdom from today? No, they were most likely necessary for my journey to the land of patience.
The HOMEWORK - Take this time with your journal to write down moments when you feel impatient in your life. It could be a situation (someone driving slowly, etc.), a person (your spouse not getting to a task fast enough, etc.) or yourself. At this point, just document the impatience. And be patient as you unfold.
Childs Pose - Straddle Variation
Benefits: calming, gently stretches lower back, nice transition from the days activities. A good pose to do if you need a few minutes break from your daily work, easy to do and easily accessible. Good for headaches. Breathing is easier since muscles of the respiratory system are relaxed.
Props: chair, 2-4 blankets
Place blanket single-fold on chair draping down. Legs can stretch through chair or straddle or cross-legged. Arms placed folded on chair in front of you. Rest forehead on arms. Tilt chin slightly toward your chest. Close eyes. For comfort or lower back issues, sit on blanket, add rolled up blankets under knees if legs in straddle, or blocks/blankets under knees if cross legged. May add a blanket at sacrum for grounding.
Benefits: Gentle twist for the spine (quadratus lumborom) Releases stress on the back muscles and a stretch to the intercostal muscles. As muscles relax, breathing is enhanced.
Set one bolster lengthwise on your mat. Depending upon your comfort, height can be elevated with blocks under bolster. Lay one blanket on top double-fold and one double-fold at end of bolster where your right hip will go. Sit next to bolster with your right hip touching it, bend knees, left or top ankle can lay in arch of right foot or other comfortable position for feet. For added comfort, place blanket between legs. Lengthen body over bolster, laying bent legs in one directions and upper body facing down on bolster. Arms drape down sides of the bolster.
Benefits: gently stretches the lower back, nice transition from day to relaxation, good to counteract effects of hunching over a computer all day and lengthens the spine.
Props: 1-2 triple fold blankets or bolster, neck roll and eye pillow
Place 1-2 triple fold blankets on top of each other lengthwise on your mat. Sit at fringe end of blankets with bent knees. Lower yourself down, laying the spine along the blanket and head at top end. Keep knees bent. Place neck roll at cervical spine or simply make a roll using fingers under top blanket. Move feet wider apart and allow knees to come together, feet are slightly turned in.Legs on Chair Pose
Props: chair, 2-3 blankets, neck roll, eye pillow
Extras: Sandbag, Webkinz stuffed animals
Benefits: relaxes the muscles of the lower back, legs, refreshes the legs, relaxes the muscles and organs of the abdomen. Blanket on belly or legs.
Place a blanket on chair so you don't feel the hard surface. If you need to elevate the body, you can place a triple fold blanket in front of chair, then place your hips on blanket to one side, swing the legs up onto the seat of the chair as you lower your upper body onto the mat or floor. Use a neck roll to support cervical spine. Place a blanket or sandbag on legs to ground you in the pose. Arms release to the sides with palms turned up. Use an eye pillow to shut out any light for ultimate relaxation. An eye pillow or some type of weighted object (I've used stuffed animals) can be placed in open palms to move and free up energy. Stay for up to 10 minutes. Your beginning practice may consist of only 5 minutes. Feel the legs drain, the stress melt away.