When i began this blog a few years ago, my intention wasn’t to write about my personal life, it was instead a place to showcase people and things that I was inspired by and to talk about the process of creativity and sustainability. But really, when i think about the things that inspire me, they’re the little and big things that I interact with daily in my life, so how can I write a blog without writing about my experiences, as a yogi, as a new mother, as a traveller, as someone who lives between many cultures, as someone who is passionate about sustainability, about health and wellness, about beauty, about design for a better planet, about living our optimal life?
That’s why I’m going to approach this blog in a different way moving forward. It’s going to be an extension of my daily practice, a way to observe what I see in the world, in my life and share it with the hope that it’s inspiring and of benefit to someone! It’s challenging finding the time, especially now as a mom, and i know that this may become a weekly offering, but having the intention of making this my daily practice is going to help me blog without worrying so much about the “perfection” of writing a post.
What brought this on? From the “vata” haze of too much recent traveling, the constant sleep-deprivation of having a now 15 month old son, who is still nursing; and my search for balance and anxiety about “never” having the time for my yoga practices of the pre-baby past, I decided to just make it all work somehow. To squeeze in the exercise and movement that I crave whenever I can. A jogging stroller has been my recent savior, on days of rain or shine, so has the gift of getting out of the house for a real yoga class. Sleeping in my own bed for more than a week has helped and two mornings ago, in Tofino, in the beautiful botanical garden lodge, i was able to take a class with a yogi-friend Melina Meza. I met Melina at a Yoga journal conference a few years ago, then in Seattle at a workshop weekend that she organized with two of my favorite Ayurveda teachers Dr. Robert Svoboda and Dr. Claudia Welch.
Melina teaches a creative and dynamic vinyasa yoga, that she calls Seasonal Vinyasa Yoga. Why seasonal? Because she tempers it with the wisdom of Ayurveda, of really applying your yoga practice to not only how you happen to be feeling on a particular day, but to what is occurring in your environment, so that you can bring your body-mind into balance in a truly holistic way. For example the class we did on Monday morning began with a lot of joint rotations in the warm up. The joints in particular, Melina said are susceptible in the spring and fall, which are the “joint” seasons, or the seasons when the Ayurvedic dosha of “vata” or movement is most active. This is the time when you want to protect your knees and elbows and neck and fingers and toes etc.
It took me a while to ground and settle into the flow, mostly because I was a few minutes late – because of, well because I am usually late to things, but try hard not to be!!! 🙂 If it’s not the baby, it’s because I am trying to get too many things done at the same time! But I did get into the flow eventually and the strong, grounding movements that Melina led us through felt wonderful. It is incredible how the synchronized, slow movements of yoga, of vinyasa calm my mind. My partner, Eoin says it’s like wringing your body and mind through a washing machine cycle. Whatever your metaphor might be, the clouds clearing away so sunshine can be revealed, the calm allowing the wind to die down – it feels amazing. It’s almost as if the writhing, twisting and bending of our body in the yoga practice has a direct cleansing effect on our cells, on our brain cells, allowing them to expunge everything they don’t need. I’m working on a piece for Asia Spa magazine right now about yoga and the nervous system so this has all been on my mind for a few weeks now! Anyhow, it’s not as if I stopped thinking about baby Ananda completely, or what i had to cook for dinner that night, but for a few moments all i focused on completely was my in-breath and out-breath. It’s amazing how delicious that feels, to realize if even for a few moments that we can experience quiet.
Melina told me afterwards that she is working a neat project. She calls it her “Photo of the Day” and it’s a practice to allow her to do something creative each day and to make it her practice to observe one thing fully, wholly and respond to it via the camera lens. I loved the idea and thought of it again yesterday when i took 40 minutes while baby Ananda napped and practiced to the Blissology Project DVD (yes sometimes even if you’re in a DVD, it’s fun to practice to it when you want the feeling of being led in a practice). During the manifesting meditation, i heard my partner’s words echo through my mind. To create positive, manifesting thoughts, you need to practice this week after week. There was that word again, practice. Isn’t that ultimately what it all boils down to, the simple act of doing something over and over again, of repeating something without any other expectation than deriving satisfaction in doing it. In his book The Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell says to be truly excellent at something, you need to practice that specific task for at least 10,000 hours. Worried about the time and dedication that takes? Said Melina, “A musician friend who inspired me with the idea of the daily project, said, if you have the intention to create something, things will conspire to give you that time.” (I’m paraphrasing and not exactly, but you get the gist!).
Good luck Melina with your photographic journey, thanks for the creative inspiration and I can’t wait to see what emerges at the end of this year.
And here goes, here we are at the beginning once more, maybe not the absolute beginning for Yogue, the inspiration is still the same at it’s core, but what’s new is that sense of urgency I feel to write, to make this my offering.
In the meantime, do write and tell me, what is your daily practice. I’d love to know what lights you up.
ps. Try these simple breathing exercises from Dr. Andrew Weil here. He’s done some amazing work on connecting pranayama and the breath work of yoga to our nervous system.
pss. All photos on this post are courtesy Melina Meza’s photo project of the day. To see more of her beautiful pictures click here.