Sunday, August 10, 2014

Meditations at the Laundromat

These last three and a half weeks have been crazy.  After spending a week in absolute heaven with my family welcoming the precious Atlas & Zoe, I came back and, as I mentioned last week, was thrown into moving madness.  Marc has been working his butt off taking catering jobs left and right to help us through the move, and between his work schedule and mine, we were almost never home together at the same time - until the night before the move.

Emotionally, it was an insanely hard week.  I was missing the babies more than I could have ever imagined and felt heartbroken beyond the telling of it.  On one hand, having to get my butt into gear on moving helped me from wallowing too much, but on the other hand...oy.  Moving, even when it goes well overall like ours thankfully did, is stressful.

We said goodbye to absolutely spectacular friends as they made their way to London on Tuesday, July 29th, and on Thursday, July 31st we said goodbye to our very first home together - of four years! - and then hello to our gorgeous new place which was already filled so very much with love (and incredible style and furniture) by Billy & Ramsey.

After seven days of hard work, we became completely box-free in our beloved new apartment - and now the work that lies ahead of us is organization, putting up our art and pictures, and laundry.

So.  Much.  Laundry.

It turns out when you use your clothing to pack all of your valuables, those clothes should probably be washed.  I did a massive load last Sunday, and it's how I've been spending the last two plus hours of this Sunday morning as well.

Laundry has never been such a nuisance to me as it is as a New Yorker.  Down home in the South, your washer and dryer (that only you and your family use!!!) live in your house or apartment with you.  Even as a college kid, I was deeply spoiled by Christopher Newport University's kickass dorms and with the exception of the laundry room freshman year (and maybe sophomore?), we had washers and dryers in our apartments.

Here in New York, large loads are the order of the day.  Colors, textures, instructions on the tag be damned - you fit 10 pounds of clothes in a 5 pound bag in a 2 pound washer and call it a day.  Hauling stuff back and forth from the apartment in lord knows what kind of weather...yes, I'm aware that it is a massively first world problem, but when you have an overflowing to-do list, laundry sometimes just feels like a damn expensive waste of time.

Which is why I am always baffled whenever I go to laundromats and see people just...sitting there.  Just sitting there!  Not at home vacuuming or working, not at the grocery store, not doing anything useful with themselves - just sitting!  It always strikes me as a monumental waste of time.  They might as well be staring at the clothes as they go through the spin cycle - or watching it dry (at least it would be more interesting than watching paint dry).

This morning, as I struggled with my four extra large loads and figuring out the timing and the hauling-back-and-forth of it all, I was stressing about having to write this blog and that I hadn't yet done my meditation practice for the day, and I finally realized I was being ridiculous.  I've been caught up in this constant go-go-go pace - slightly different from my usual go-go-go pace.  Between spending a week helping my sister keep two tiny infants alive (which didn't feel like work for one single second, but which did involved a lot of running around and multitasking), a week packing up everything I owned, and a week unpacking everything I owned with a lot of cleaning and teaching and working along the way...I have anxiety about the empty, unscheduled, unstructured space.  I feel guilty if I'm not doing something useful, something to push our place towards being done.

The truth is, there won't be any kind of finish line for the apartment.  Even after we organize it all and hang up our art...we'll always be making dirty laundry.  We'll acquire new things that need homes.  We'll make messes and break things and sometimes the place will be a disaster area.

I decided to take advantage of an awkward 15-minute gap between my loads of wash being done and sit on one of the plastic chairs outside of the laundromat, and just sit.  Enjoy the uncharacteristically mild August weather.  Enjoy the sights and sounds of the new trees, the new mildly obnoxious guys on the street, the new families walking by.  The late summer sun and leaves and the joy of being fortunate enough to sit in that chair on that street on a lovely Sunday morning.

We are so happy to be here.  Now the next thing on the to-do list is to relax into being home.

After I fold all this laundry.

Friday, July 25, 2014

A hurricane of change

So remember last week when I was all on about how I think change is a fabulous thing and I'm totally into it?

A HUGE part of me wants to take all of that back.

This past week with the precious twins was more life-changing and overwhelming than I could have ever possibly known, and there was just no way to prepare for it.  It was one of the best weeks of my entire life, and I haven't been so heartbroken as when I had to say goodbye to them in a very, very long time.  Not just feeling heartbroken that I had to leave, but heartbroken because I will never ever see them at that tiny size again.  They've already grown and changed so much in just nine little days on the planet.  When Marc and I go see them again, they'll be six weeks old and so much bigger.  They'll have hit tiny milestones I'll have missed.  When we leave, we won't see them again until December when they'll be over five months old.  It might seem silly or trivial, but it feels truly heartbreaking.

And now that I'm back, we are thrown head-first into moving and it feels like we have a billion things to do and haven't had a chance to start hardly any of it.

So - this blog will not be my best!  I am short on inspiration, high on joy and stress from the babies and moving, and ready to get this show on the road so we can be in our new beautiful place this time next week.  I leave you with, instead of anything inspiring, informative, or yogic, some beautiful baby pictures:


My sister is not only phenomenal for delivering twins without C-Section and being an amazing mother to these kids, but because only four days after doing that she was up for venturing out into the world!  Babies' first Target trip!
Second Storytime ever!  Atlas was mildly into it; Zoe slept through it.

Holding my Zoe-bug for the first time - she's
only about 13 hours old.
My last morning with my sweet one-week-old Atlas.

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Constant of Change

Happy July!  The month has partly felt like it's crawling, but mostly just feels like it is sprinting recklessly ahead.  Three people I encountered today experienced massive shock over the fact that it's already the 11th?

Two huge life changes are coming up for us, and one admittedly is a much bigger life change for my sister and Jeremy than it is for Marc and I.  We thought they'd be here by now, but they will certainly be here by tomorrow - our first beautiful niece and nephew, Zoe and Atlas, will be making their debut any moment now.  (Not a moment too soon for any of us, especially their mama!)  I'm flying out next Wednesday to meet them, and I am exploding with excitement.  I cannot wait to spend a week completely immersed in them.

The second, the secretive one I eluded to last week, is finally official - Marc and I are moving!  We're staying in the beautiful Ditmars area of Astoria, and are taking over the gorgeous apartment of our very dear friends Billy and Ramsey who are moving to London after a fabulous job opportunity came knocking.  Marc and I had no plans at all to leave our humble little abode in which we've spent the last four years, but the timing of everything turned out to be perfect.  (With the obvious exception that we are truly devastated to have two amazing friends moving so far away.) It's financially scary, but the big positive is that it's finally gotten us on the same page about a budget (which probably counts as a third change, and could very well have its own entry.  Or entire blog)

It's gotten me thinking about change itself.  I used to be absolutely petrified of change - I hated the idea of it.  This is mainly back in high school and college, where I had amazing friends that I couldn't fathom the idea of leaving behind.  And leaving for college meant leaving the structured school/class system - I had no interest!  It's a wonder I didn't end up applying to grad schools.

The older I get, though, the more I've been able to embrace change and see it as a good thing.  Something like new babies being born or moving into a bigger apartment can obviously be seen as positive, but I feel like I've been able to take on that attitude toward changes that aren't so welcome.  I've learned that things I thought would be terrible or setbacks have turned out to be either wonderful or wonderful teachers.  After all, doesn't adversity grow character?

In yoga, nothing is static.  You're shifting from pose to pose, or even in the stillness of meditation you have the movement of the breath.  In a balance pose, you wobble, even if just slightly.  And in a kid's yoga class, forget it - we're changing animals and adventures and shapes every five seconds.  You go on a mini-journey in each class and strive to have the same balanced breath and meditative mind-state throughout each and every step.  From beginning Om to the hardest poses to savasana and every change in between, there's nothing but change.  The you who enters the classroom and the you who leaves are not the same person.  We shed and regenerate cells constantly.  We grow older every day.

I'm not sure what my broader point here is today, except to say - change is inevitable.  Change is great.  Change is sometimes sad and scary.  Change can be overwhelming.  The key is to have the flexibility of mind and breath to go with the flow.  Overprepare...and then go with the flow.

I may or may not see you next week - if I do, it'll be a long distance blog from gorgeous South Carolina!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sports + Yoga = World Cup Success

Big Life News is coming up, but it's not in a place yet where I can put it up on a blog.  Call it superstition, or call it hippie paranoia over Mercury's Retrograde, call it what you will - hopefully by next week I can talk about the thing that will likely be inspiring most entries this summer (except for course for the entries inspired by my sister's upcoming twins!).

In the meantime, my most public Big Life News is THE WORLD CUP!  The US lost to Germany (inc case you're living under a rock and didn't know) but we're advancing to the next round!

In honor of that, an article on our intense new coach - including a tiny little mention of his introduction to yoga to the team.

Go Yoga - Go America.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Mental Movies

Whenever I read a book, I have to cast all of the characters as either actors or people in my life.  I need a "mental movie" going in my head along with the story or I can't delve into it as deeply as I want.  For most of my favorite books, I could tell you exactly who plays what part.  (And chances are, Matthew McConoughey will be in it)  As a movie addict from the time I was a tiny tot, the language of "mental movie" is something I can easily connect to, and now that I work with kids and with adults for whom meditation is new, it's a really effective way to start introducing visualization techniques.

As so many of us do, I tend to worry.  At the moment, there are a lot of uncertainties going on in Marc's and my life and we've been playing the waiting game a lot in the last two or so months with regard to family, finances, and our apartment.  It's been a constant battle to quell the mental movie of disaster - the worry - and just try to stay focused on the present and the fact that most of this is out of our hands.

Last night, I attended an Inversion & Arm Balances Refresher Course at my good ol' Karma Kids Yoga.  The event was for KKY Trained teachers to help us refresh us on how we can better teach these challenging poses to the kids we work with and how to work with them in our own personal practice as well.

My boss, KKY Director Shari Vilchez-Blatt, is addicted to these poses!  She is always up for a new challenge and for working on seemingly impossible and crazy physical feats, including quite a few that either blow my mind or just scare the bejesus out of me.

Handstand fever at one of our KKY Playdates (aka a "Staff meeting")
from February.  I'm third from the left, Shari's last on the right.
For me, the big challenge lay in two particular poses - tripod headstand (a pose I've struggled with and hated forever!) and jumping into crow from downward dog (which she makes look so damn easy and impossible at the same time).

After reviewing some of the elements of jumping into crow for a bit, she had us stop and just sit for a minute to ground ourselves.  She guided us through a simple but powerful and effective "mental movie" meditation.  She had us sit, breathe, and watch a movie of ourselves doing the pose.  Gliding into it as if it took no effort, as if it were as easy as walking.

And for the first two minutes of this, my mind showed a very clear mental movie of me......breaking my wrists.  Falling on my face.  Breaking my arms.  Somehow, impossibly, even breaking my neck.  I had to stifle my laughter because it was just so ridiculous and so typical of my worrywort brain.  How revealing this was that I sit with a full intention of visualizing success and I visualize immediately violent failure.  After a few minutes I was able to shift the movie, and I got pretty darn close when we went back to trying the pose, but I've been thinking about that ever since.

I worked on positive visualization later on when she was helping me into my dreaded tripod headstand and was struck by how much of my struggle in that pose is mental and a result of all the mental movies of myself breaking my neck in that pose.  Instead of defaulting to an inspirational movie, I default into a horror movie!  As yoga so often does, it gave me a massive insight into how this mirrors my "off the mat" life.

Whether you practice yoga or not, this so-simple and so-powerful tool is a must for us to practice in life.  Visualizing yourself doing a challenging yoga pose or physical feat will be incredibly helpful toward reaching it, and more than that, visualizing a positive outcome for something in your life whether it's in your control or not is so good for your brain, your stress level, your emotional well-being.

We spend so much time and energy visualizing things going wrong, consciously and unconsciously.  If we work hard at visualizing the positive outcome, we might still wind up disappointed if it doesn't work out, but at least we haven't made ourselves suffer in the interim.  I can't remember who, but someone once said that when you worry about a problem, you experience it twice - once in the worried anticipation, and once when it actually comes to pass.

There's enough in the world to worry about, but we have the power to choose a positive thought and shift our energy in the other direction.  With time, with practice, with consistency...who knows what kind of seemingly impossible feats will suddenly become possible.  I'm working on switching my mental movie from horror to inspirational, and plan to keep chasing that jump into crow.  I'll keep you posted on how it goes!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Three Minutes

If you "Like" Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebok, then you probably don't need to read any further.  If you don't...start!  Her short essays, musings, whatever you want to call them on almost a daily basis are so inspiring and somehow so grounded.  In honor of "throwback Thursday," she has shared a brief interview (barely 3 minutes of your precious time) about integrating spiritual lessons she learned after four months in an Indian Ashram into her daily life.

Inspiring + Grounded = Elizabeth Gilbert.  I don't have anything that could hold a candle to this in me today, so enjoy!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Attitude Schmattitude

I remember as a kid that nearly every single classroom would have some variation of a cheesy laminated poster that would invariably have a slogan about Attitude!  Attitude is everything!  It's all about Attitude!  Have a Positive Attitude Today!

And because as a kid I so very often prided myself on being, as they say, too cool for school, I always found them embarrassing and dumb.  For no particular reason, of course - it's just that I was a kid and found most everything that could be put into cheerful poster form at school to be terribly cheesy.  Attitude schmattitude.  Bo-ring.

It's very strange how in some ways, kids are the big cynics and adults are the big open-hearted softies, and it others it's exactly the opposite.  Understanding, valuing, and respecting the massive importance and power of a positive attitude is something I have only come to understand as an adult.  It's also only as an adult how much I've come to understand that attitude is 100% a choice.  It's not always an easy choice, especially when your mind is in a continual habit of having a negative attitude or simply not exercising any power of altering your attitude, but it is a choice, every single damn time.

One of the many benefits of yoga is that as you practice watching your thoughts and detaching yourself from identifying solely with your thoughts and emotions (which change with the breeze), you start to gain an understanding of that choice.  With practice, it gets easier and easier.

It's a continual challenge for me, and some days go better than others, but I always appreciate reminders that it truly is all about attitude - attitude is everything.

I'll close with a quote from one of the many birth stories that has been reminding me of this fact.  In anticipation of the newest members of my family being born soon (but not soon enough for me!), I've been reading bits and pieces of the birth stories at the beginning of Ina May Gaskin's masterpiece, Spiritual Midwifery.

It's amazing for so many reasons - for one, the hippie lingo of the era is truly something to behold - but one of the most common threads I find in these stories and in the philosophies Gaskin and her team of midwives espouse, is that you can choose to have a good experience or a bad experience.  You can choose to identify as pain or sensation.  The mind is more profoundly powerful than any of us know, and so many of these stories are proof of that.  Obviously they deal exclusively with childbirth, but if they can apply these principles to childbirth - how much more easily can we apply the lesson to every other trial and tribulation life throws our way?

This is an excerpt from a woman named Linda's birth story, "Rear Entry," describing the first breech birth performed at The Farm (as opposed to the local hospital).  Dr. Williams, local OB and great partner to the midwives at The Farm, was skeptical about the possibility of a drug-free breech and was attending the birth to be on hand in case of emergency.  Here, Linda is talking about the pressure she felt leading up to the birth.

"I got emotional and teary again, and later Ina May and Margaret came over and said they wanted to know where I was at, because both times Ina May had seen me I had been upset and crying.  Ina May said that The Farm women had a really good reputation with the local hospital because of how they had their babies, and if I started blubbering at everything, how was I going to have a baby without anesthesia?  I realized right then that I had to stop being self-indulgent and straighten up.  I promised them right there that I was going to do it right and they trusted me.  I really believe that any woman has the option to chicken out or not.  I felt like I had made a vow to have a good time at my birthing, and I knew a month ahead of time I was going to have fun.  That left the rest of my pregnancy to look forward to it."

Spoiler alert:  She does indeed have fun.

How amazing is that attitude?  How many people these days do you ever think stop to check themselves and stop being self-indulgent and "straighten up?"  I love it and look at it as a challenge to live up to.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Ugly and Lovely Spring

This gorgeous, finally-warm month seems to have been packed with lots of violence and sadness.  Some of which I experienced within my circle of family and friends, or was at least as spectator to personally, but most of which took place outside of my life and inside my world of news in the New York Times and the mammoth that is the Internet and social media.  Some of it was me choosing to delve back into a dark time in our history which also produced wonderful things - I've been watching and reading Band of Brothers, and on Memorial Day Marc and I decided it was finally high time I watched the devastating Schindler's List.  Some of it was the absolute mad state of our current events: following the stories of the Nigerian girls, the shootings at UCSB, the scandalous goings-on with the VA, which directly affects my family, and now the death of the incomparable Maya Angelou, and more.

Despite all of this, I'm approaching the end of May feeling strangely happy and inspired.  I think in part I've just been feeling a profound sense of gratitude for my circumstances in life and a feeling of total humility for how relatively charmed my life is - and it really, really is.

It's tempting to avoid the news because it is usually overwhelmingly depressing, negative, and tragic, and there's no way any one individual can carry with them all of the horrors that happen day to day.  I often go through phases where I just have no desire to follow the news too closely.  However, I usually find that the more connected I am to it and the more I try to learn about a story (and better yet, try to do something about it or engage with someone about it), the better I feel about things overall.  I'm still left with knowledge and images of tragedy I might not otherwise have if I didn't watch the NBC Nightly News (how I love me some Brian Williams!) or decided not to read various shared articles by my Facebook friends, but the old cliche "Knowledge is Power" is always and profoundly true.  It's always better to know and to be an informed citizen.  Heartbreaking though it might sometimes be, it gives you the gift of perspective in your own life, to say nothing of gratitude.

I have stopped myself so many times this month during challenging moments at work, frustrations when traveling, when I was struggling to heal ASAP from a stupid and stubborn minor toe injury, and told myself how tiny those problems are in the grand scheme of what so many other souls are dealing with or have dealt with.  I received some wonderful news last week regarding a family member's health and was at once overcome with a sense of joy that I felt almost anything could go wrong for me that day and I just flat out wouldn't care.  The relief I felt overshadowed absolutely everything else, and man, were my priorities straight that day.

It's hard to put into words everything I'm feeling as this month draws to a close with all the joy and madness it's contained, and with Maya Angelou's death yesterday causing the world to overflow with her massive abundance of wisdom and articulation, I was terribly tempted to just plaster my blog with her words.   When you're searching for profundity, who better to turn to than her, right?

But - that wouldn't really have been in keeping with her spirit.  However inarticulate, I believe she taught that it's important to speak - to sing.  To at least try.  We can't solve everything wrong in the world or prevent bad things happening in our lives, but we can do our part.  We can keep our priorities straight, have compassion for those less fortunate, and hold tight to whatever religious or spiritual practices keep us grounded.  I know with every fiber of my being that my new daily practice, which is roughly two months strong now, has been invaluable in keeping my head on straight.

I will close with her last public quote, however - a tweet, which is just so very 2014.  It's simple, it's profound, it's why I practice and need yoga.


"Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God."
-Dr. Maya Angelou-

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Simple Inspiration

I'm keeping things pretty simple today - a relief after last week's rather gut-wrenching, but necessary and therapeutic, post about my jury duty experience.  Normally when I keep things simple it's because I'm just linking to an article I liked, or posting a picture of some kind.  But today I feel inspired by a very simple quote brought to my attention by my incredible mother-in-law, who inspires me herself in so many ways.  And what the hell, I'll accompany it with a link and a picture.

A study came out last fall detailing how the anticipation, and more specifically the dread, of a painful event is actually worse on us than the thing itself.  (Read a summary of it here) To me, that doesn't seem like a huge discovery.  I suppose they've officially proven it, but it honestly seems rather like common sense.  I think anyone who tends to be a worrier would probably agree.  It's easy as yoga teachers or for those who are very religious to talk about surrendering to the universe or to God, but it's tough to really practice it from day to day.

It doesn't just have to be something major or physical - I find so often that when I worry or anticipate something going on at work or someone's reaction to a problem, the reality is almost never as bad as the scenario I've worked out in my head.  And what a waste of that time I just spent dreading, worrying, and anticipating!  I feel like I've lost entire days worrying about an event, spending the day anxious and miserable, only for it to wind up being no big deal.

One of my little "life commandments," after being inspired by Gretchen Rubin's "Happiness Project" is that, "Worry is futile."  I believe that sentiment with every fiber of my being, but find it hard to put in to practice.  I tend to be a worrywort in general, so it's a constant practice for me to be aware and let it go.  Sometimes when you repeat the same mantra over and over, however, instead of gaining power it can lose a bit of power - you get used to the words, you get used to repeating it to yourself and honestly sometimes the power and effectiveness wears off a bit.  It helps to hear the same teaching, the same reminder, the same sentiment in a new way.

My mother-in-law, who is a devoted Christian, reads a particular passage in the Bible every morning and shared with Marc and I this one line that she finds comfort in.  It's been rolling around and around in my head all day long, and when I sat down to write this was truly the only thing I wanted to share.  I hope it sticks with you and gives you some comfort today, whether you're a Christian, a yogi, a worrywort, or blessedly laid back and present.  It's striking in its simplicity and in its command, and today I feel there's really nothing left to add...


"Be anxious of nothing."

My beloved mother-in-law and I by the Ipswich River, 2010.
Guess which one of us struggles more with worry?

(Though in my defense, Marc had just stolen my paddle.)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Yoga for Coping

I typically try to be very faithful to my weekly blog habit (or sometimes, I'll admit - obligation).  When I go off a week, there's usually a good reason, typically because I'm out of town.  These last (almost four!) weeks I've just been damn busy. Days off have been very few, and haven't involved burrowing at home but rather going out and about in this gorgeous city, seeing theatre, family, and friends.  That's part of the joy of spring - it's a hell of a lot easier and more pleasurable to go out in the world and escape the walls of your tiny apartment than in polar vortex weather.

Last week was supposed to house my first day off since Easter - last Thursday.  Instead, I spent last Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday sitting on a case for jury duty.  I don't want to go into any more detail than I have to, because it still hurts my heart to think of it.  Just emailing a friend about it this morning has been enough to send me into a funk today (the dreary overcast sky and the sudden jerking stop after two and a half weeks of go-go-go momentum certainly contributed as well, I'm sure).

On Tuesday morning I was selected as part of the jury for a trial on allegations of child sexual abuse.  There was no physical evidence in the case, as was made clear to us before we were selected.  It was purely he-said-she-said, her word against his.  In this case, the word of a mentally delayed 13-year-old child against a 58-year-old man, who invoked his legal right not to testify on his own behalf.  We only heard from her, the other witnesses called, and both attorneys who were both clearly slumming it.  That's one thing we as a jury all 100% agreed on.  This case was tough, no doubt about it, but the way it was tried by both sides was abysmally bad.  Important questions by both sides were just never asked, too many details remained unexplained, and so many hours were wasted on repeating simple points that frankly didn't really matter when it came to the question of finding this man guilty or not guilty.

The trial lasted a little more than six hours.  The only testimony that honestly mattered worth a damn lasted an hour and a half at most.

We deliberated for over fourteen hours.  Over the course of Wednesday afternoon, all day Thursday, and all day Friday, the twelve of us were in a room together trying to make sense of this case, trying to come to a unanimous decision, and all too often, simply at a loss for what else to say and simply willing the time to pass faster.

We never reached a verdict.    I was one of 10 who firmly, whole-heartedly, repeatedly voted Guilty.  Two firmly, whole-heartedly, repeatedly said Not Guilty.  There were two women who had initially voted Not Guilty and changed their votes, one on Wednesday and then the other by Friday. The judge finally accepted our inability to reach a verdict on Friday afternoon and it was those last few hours of Friday's deliberations that the truth of what it meant for us to be a hung jury hit home.  A lot of us cried.

After the trial I felt physically sick - physically heartbroken.  I felt, and am still feeling, guilty, so confused as to what the purpose of me being on that trial was, horrified that I played a part in a failure of our justice system, and just so, so, so, so sorry for that little girl and her family.

What does any of this have to do with my blog about yoga, you may be asking?  (And WOW, what a departure from the last entry, huh?)

The whole point I wanted to make from this entry is that the yoga has been getting me through it.  I woke up extra early every day before schlepping out to damned Kew Gardens, Queens to make sure I could get in some kind of movement (especially on days we were trapped in the room for hours on end) and my morning meditation practice.  Most mornings I woke up after a horrible night's sleep, my stomach feeling upset, my heart heavy, and my head a bundle of anxiety.  This practice went such a long way toward strengthening my spine, both literally and metaphorically, and allowing me to face the day.

Coming home after, I always tried to do something - a restorative pose or a bath (and yes, a non-yogic amount of wine) to help myself shed as much of the case as I could.

The power that it had in helping me cope was amazing.  I feel like so often yoga teachers only show the brightest, sunniest sides of themselves on social media - for a variety of understandable reasons - and yoga has this reputation of being a cure-all and of guaranteeing a happy, trouble-free life.  Like it's some kind of protective bubble.  It's an amazing thing, but nothing can completely protect a person from whatever trials life is determined to throw at you.  Just like you can be a Christian but still have a bad day and not live up to the ideals you strive to live up to, you can be a yogi and have shitty days where you just can't help but see the bad in the world.  It's just part of life.

These days, yoga is as much a business as it is a practice, and it's easy to merge and confuse the two.  I make my living teaching yoga, and marketing what I do is a part of my livelihood.  I'm not saying that I lie or would promote something I didn't believe in, but because my job for the most part makes me incredibly happy, I put forth that positivity, that happiness, the occasional party-trick pose.  It's just as easy for me to forget that just because I'm a yogi doesn't protect me or my family from the fact that sometimes shit happens.  The real power of yoga is not just that it makes you happy or even cheers you up - it's an unbelievable tool for coping.  For getting through.  For feeling the fear, the remorse, the shit, and breathing through it.  Until you get to the next day, the next, and the next.

The day after the trial, I immediately jumped back into my work and slowly but surely, started feeling better after each subsequent class I taught.  I started the day sobbing on my co-worker and friend's shoulder and ended it quietly content, feeling rewarded for having reconnected with my students.  I can't undo what was done last week, as much as I want to more than anything.  But thankfully my job allows me to help make life a little less stressful and a little easier to cope with for others - and reminds me to do the same thing for myself.