Posts by: lori murphy
Cultivate the opposite
I am reading Dona Holleman’s “Dancing the Body of Light” Chapter 6 (yes, I am doing my homework very last minute for the Boundless Teacher Training program!) and I am struck by this idea of deliberately and intentionally cultivating the opposite emotion when we are faced with stress, anger, anything negative. Acknowledge the negative and then, cultivate – in your heart, your mind, your actions, your behavior towards others – the opposite. So simple, and yet so unbelievably hard. There is a four alarm fire going off in my brain right now. This is a skill I must work on! I want to begin to create my own reality by figuring this out. How have you cultivated the opposite? How has it helped?
What my shoulders tell me
I was on a long vacation recently — 10 days — abroad with my family. We planned a little excursion across Europe but ended up “stranded” in Paris thanks to that lovely little gift from Iceland, the ash cloud. Stressful at the time, no doubt, but a pretty funny story to tell for years to come.
Yesterday, I finally got around to uploading the video from our trip. As I watched the clips upload, I noticed something so interesting, something the pre-yoga me would not have seen. My shoulders started to inch up. And up. With each passing day. By day 10 of the trip, my shoulders are practically touching my ears! A confession: I did NO yoga in Europe. And wow, my shoulders were telling.
In class and in my home practice, I am constantly thinking about my shoulders. I am not a fan of shoulder stand, especially not since my return stateside (no wonder!). But finding that space between your earlobes and your shoulders, it releases so much tension. We all hold stress in different places at different times, though I imagine the shoulders creeping up is quite common for most of us. Seeing it in pictures was a rude awakening. Next family trip, I am packing my mat before I pack anything else!
Rediscovering My Mat
Recently, a number of things in life have sidetracked me from yoga. I was on a great pattern of practicing daily, after setting a personal goal of a daily yoga for 30 days. I far surpassed that goal and just kept going, stopped counting days, enjoying the “me” time that I was carving out of every day. Then life simply didn’t allow for it. Or perhaps I allowed my schedule to take over, right? Still, this past weekend and week, I have gotten back on my mat, and I shouldn’t be surprised that I am stuck in all sorts of places in my body. Adho muhka svanasana (down dog), a common pose that you’ll do in most classes, is less accessible to me. The pose tells me where I need to breathe, relax, and focus – and wow, my shoulders are unforgiving. This being yoga week, I hope that others start to (re)discover their mats too. It’s wonderful to hear about the first timers coming to class, hungry to learn. It reminds me of when I started yoga, the thrill of that first sirsanana (headstand), the desire to do every pose without props because I thought using props was a crutch. Ha! Now I own blocks and straps and use them in every home practice. And now, after a few weeks out of practice, I need props more than ever. I am humbled by what my body does, and does not, remember.
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