Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mala Madness!

I've written in the past about malas and about a japa meditation practice - a mala is typically a necklace of 108 beads used for meditation practice.  You choose a mantra, sit in your meditation posture, and thumb through each bead, repeating the mantra silently or aloud 108 times.  It's an ancient practice, and one very common among yogis.

Mala with a Ganesh charm; the remover of obstacles
One of our former teachers (and hopefully future...?) at Karma Kids, the lovely Camy Zachofsky, started making her own malas a few years ago after feeling like there wasn't a lot of variety or personality in many of the malas she was seeing at various studios and stores.  Camy has put a tremendous amount of thought into her designs, work into finding the best materials, and care in creating malas designed to support certain chakras, or energy centers, and different intentions for the person who will inevitably use that mala for a japa practice.

We had an incredibly fun workshop with Camy last week - Mala Madness, also the name of her company - where she taught us how to make our own malas as well as teaching us more about a japa practice.  Mine is a beautiful blue sodalite mala with a lovely copper key charm at the end.

I encourage everyone to check out Camy's website and facebook page and see her stunning malas for yourself!  They're great as a gift to yourself, to a yogi friend, or even to someone completely new to a yoga or meditation practice.  Enjoy your own mala madness!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Love Where You Are

I didn't write an entry last week as it was a semi-vacation week.  I worked every day except for the actual 4th of July, but I had an overall lighter schedule than usual and took full advantage of the time I wasn't working!

This coming week is much busier with both work and play - Marc's show opens on Thursday (Buy your tickets now and come see him!  Tickets are selling so fast!) and my wonderful in-laws are coming into town on Friday to see his awesome work as Macbeth.  I'm also doing a refresher course on Prenatal Pilates on Sunday, taking up what's often my day off.  I'm incredibly excited for it, but definitely hunkering down today and preparing for a crazy and hopefully please lord slightly less hot week.

Today's entry, at the bridge between last week and this week, will serve as the entry for both, and I want to share the little phrase that started rolling around in my head at the start of last week and has become my July mantra:

"Love where you are."

In yoga there's constant talk about "being present" and "staying present," but it can be hard to grasp what that actually means and what it feels like.  We can touch it from time to time but it's often fleeting in our practical, everyday life.  I think a lot of people often feel (I know I do!) that no matter where you are, you can't stop thinking about the past or the future.  When I'm at work, I think about what I'm going to do when I come home.  When I'm home, I think about what I'm going to do at work.  When I'm at a yoga class, I'm thinking about coming home and making dinner (it is a bit frightening and crazy how often I'm just thinking about food and cooking).

The thing is, though, even when I'm not enamored with where I am (waiting on a stiflingly, disgustingly hot subway platform for example), I do know that I have the ability to find at least a little bit of peace or even joy no matter what.  Even if it's just the perspective of having a moment of gratitude for the subway system, however imperfect, allowing me to live in my lovely neighborhood and work with relative ease in Manhattan.

The idea of loving where you are instead of just being there makes it a little bit more actionable - achievable if you will.  It's giving us something to do instead of trying to grasp at that ever elusive idea of simply being.  Maybe it can serve as a gateway - who knows.  So far, though, it's been a really great phrase to keep in my back pocket to give myself a reality check - or a reminder to put down the iPhone during an evening with Marc or lunch with a friend.

Let me know if this idea resonates with you - try repeating it to yourself whenever you catch yourself wishing you were someplace else or immersed in facebook during work.  Is it helpful?

I hope everyone has a wonderful week!


P.S.

In totally unrelated news, I was on a mission this weekend to keep my tradition going of making treats for the shows that Marc is in for the cast & crew to enjoy.  I came upon this recipe and blog and my life will never be the same.  Check it out!