Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Back to basics

Happy almost-June!  As May comes to a close and June with its promise of gloriously long and sunny (and stormy) summer days quickly approaches, it feels like a lot of things in my life are coming to a close and a lot of space is opening up.

From the wedding, I dove headfirst into a very fast and furious half marathon training.  From there, taking care of more newlywed business (this whole name change thing is a chore and a half in New York State!!), and then culminating this weekend, Marc and I tackled a massive spring cleaning of our apartment that was easily 3 years in the making.  It's been on the agenda probably since the winter - knowing that we needed a big spring clean/purge/reorganization - and we always put it off until that generic time, "after the wedding."

We spent all day Sunday and all day Monday under the bed, way back in closets, vacuuming places that hadn't seen the light of day in lord knows how long, dropping off trash bags of clothing and more at Goodwill, overwhelming our apartment building's garbage and recycle cans, and putting everything all back together again better than we found it.  It's an exhausting, frustrating, and ultimately massively rewarding thing to do and I'm so profoundly grateful we had the time to put into it.  (Now hopefully the next time we have a day off together we can make plans to just enjoy ourselves instead!)  It had me thinking a lot about some basic yogic principles - saucha (purity, cleanliness) and aparigraha (non-hoarding) chief among them - and I noticed that although we were putting them fully into practice in our apartment, I was still struggling a bit in applying it to my day to day life.

With those three big tasks behind me now - wedding, race, massive spring cleaning - my mind keeps finding its way back to yoga - specifically, my own practice.  During training both of my half marathons, my meditation practice got pushed to the back burner, and I feel like I've been so busy and so attached to the idea that I'm busy for so long, it's hard for me to just relax and to have an empty spot on my calendar and not fill it with something. It's an attachment to being "productive," or a habit, or some kind of anxiety, but whatever it is, I need to learn how to have the opposite as well!

I've had a hard time connecting with a genuine, personal yoga practice and with tapping into that which made yoga so important to me in the first place that I wanted to make it my life.  It used to be something I went to to help me deal with life and work and stress, but now that it's become my work, I don't know how to allow it to be both.  It's hard to be in a class and not have my analytical teacher mind and compare myself to the teacher - favorably or unfavorably.  It's hard not to turn off my "note taking" brain and think about her sequencing or whether I agree or disagree with her style.  I also keep thinking that I don't necessarily want to have my own personal asana practice if I"m going to be doign asana (especially with kids when it's harder to be careful of my body) becasue then I'm just asking for over-use injuries.

All of this is to say - I'm hoping this summer I can start to re-learn how to relax, connect, and enjoy my yoga again.  To be productive in my life without being obsessed with productivity and work - to come out of high gear sometimes.  This city has a way of sweeping you up to a fever pitch and it's unsustainable.  Back to basics for me - meditation, yoga classes with no expectations and a beginner's mind, and truly tuning in to what I need.

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