Friday, June 11, 2010

To the Left, To the Right

I was pulling out of a parking space and carefully looked to the left and the right as I started to inch out of the space. I always do it that way. My car is very low and it is hard to see around most vehicles parked on either side of me. It has served me well as I haven't hit anyone in a parking lot yet (knock on wood), unless you count high school. I drove my dad's car to school one day not long after receiving that most coveted privilege - the driver's license. It was a huge Chrysler and even though I am tall - 5"9" - I felt tiny in the front seat of that car. I pulled into a parking space, and the little perfectionist in me started to back up to pull in again perfectly parallel. It needed just a little straightening, I thought. When I backed up I tapped the VW bug (do they call them that anymore?) that was driving by. It just happened to be the high school driver education instructor. There wasn't any damage to either car but I was humiliated none the less - until I walked into the school. The driving instructor was not the most well liked teacher and I was a bit of a hero for a day as the story spread throughout the school. Maybe that is why I look so carefully from side to side now when I pull out of a space. I wish other people would. I always notice other drivers. It seems they are focused in only one direction. They have their eyes on a parking spot or a turn but forget to look the other way. Many times it is because they have their cell phone atached to one ear. But there's another story for another day.

In yoga class we always balance ourselves by repeating whatever pose we do for one side on the other. It makes sense in our heads and it makes sense for our body.

Check things out in both directions - whatever you are doing. You never know what you are missing that might be coming at you from the other side.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Just My Mat

I am proud to say my oldest son just graduated from college with honors in a difficult major. He had several job offers and has a few months off before he has to join the real world. In the meantime, he is moving home to live with us while he makes the transition from one lifestyle to another. Everything that he owns came home with him (and was added to the remnants of high school - e.g. his varsity letter jacket and homecoming boutonnieres). This last week has been an unending sorting, dumping, moving process as I worked through his belongings with him as well as cleansing other parts of the house. I marveled at all the things we have acquired. There is nothing extravagant or particularly unusual in the mess, just a lot of clothes and toys and general stuff. What breaks my heart is when I come across something that is still in the package or shows no visible signs of wear. So many things and so little time to use them, I muse. I felt great as I loaded all the give-aways in the car and delivered them to the local donation center. There were many items I knew others would consider treasures that I hoped would be put to good use.

During the overhaul, as my son contemplated moving into his own apartment, he verbalized the things he would need. "I just need a bed, and some clothes and some food and a way to get to work - some kind of old car. That is all I really need." Yes - that is true. That is all we really need. (He had been talking for years about the new car he wanted to buy when he got out of school but today he spent hours cleaning up one of our old cars - seventeen years old to be exact - and is excited about using it.)

All I really need is my yoga mat. How simple life would be if all I had to carry with me was my mat. It is my refuge from the stresses of life. When I teach I escape into the yoga world with my students, breathing and stretching and working hard as we move from one pose to another, finally reaching savasana to relax at the end. All the stresses of the world are gone as we focus on yoga for that hour.

If I needed to I could use it as a bed. If I was cold I could wrap it around me and experience some relief from the cold or the rain - but maybe not from the Texas heat. If my house was burning down I would grab my yoga mat and run.

If they start making yoga mats out of chocolate I would definitely have all that I need to survive.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I Just Want Some Attention Please

A transformer blew in the neighborhood and we lost power for several hours on a hot Sunday afternoon. We already had plans for a movie but decided to eat out after since we had no idea how long the power outage would last. We went to a steak restaurant where my favorite part of their awesomeness is their rolls. We were seated in the bar area and rarely saw our waiter even though we gave him signals - i.e. empty water glasses and bread baskets (not that I really needed him to refill that). I could have called for him but didn't want to embarrass the kids. The lack of attention was noticeable.

I walk around the room during yoga class adjusting people in their poses, with a gentle hand here or fingers coaxing them to move deeper into the pose in my direction. If they are looking down I gently touch their back to let them know I am there so they don't get surprised and fall over and then I ask them if they would like me to help them in a pose. Sometime I pose a question to the whole class asking if anyone would like me to help them get their foot behind their head or into some other contortion. Many times, all I have to do is walk by and I can see their leg go higher or they twist a little more and I don't even have to stop. It is amazing - the power of just walking by. I try not to spend too much time with one person because the rest of the class is waiting for the next move and they will let me know if I leave them in a pose too long. With a laugh I tell them they will have to keep the pose just as long on the other side so they are not lopsided and the lighthearted groans begin. If I spend too much time with one person the rest of the class does not get the benefit of my attention and assistance. It is a delicate dance.

I think the waiter could learn a little about paying attention to people from the yoga room (I don't want him to touch us! - just stop by a little more often!)