I hope this greeting finds you doing well.

If not, I hope you find a little loving inspiration to sit up tall, take a deep breath in, and welcome a little space.

Today I woke up energized. After all, April is my self-proclaimed second month of the new year.
I woke up with a brief sketch in my mind about the day. After all of the preliminaries – yoga, meditation, prayer – I was going to grab the procrastination bull by the horns … My mental checklist was filled with I musts…

I must…
I must…
I must…I must…

Among them was a two-hour morning yoga practice (in addition to a 90 min session at night?!) As I sat looking at my yoga sequence for the morning something took over me. A sense of calm replaced the spirit of I must”. Hmm, I mused to myself, how about some yin yoga this morning? Besides, I got to get my hair re-twisted in an hour so…. When it comes to natural hair and the rest of the day, sometimes all bets are off!

I got up from the couch. Cranked up the capoeira on my new Bose speaker and commenced to hip openers.

I tell em
Slow down, you know you can’t catch me
I move too fast on the gas, don’t chase me
Slow down, slow down


By Wednesday I had a super duper long to-do list. I first made a master list of to-do lists. Then I gleefully crossed off tasks I’d already done and starred those I’d planned to do today, tomorrow and the next. By mid-morning I was tired. I felt like I’d accomplished nothing and my brain felt foggy. It’s a good thing I had an appointment with my acupuncturist: A – I could cross this off my to-do list. B – I felt closer to solving this nagging pain in my shoulder blade. Last night when I was leading the aum, I realized that my inhale for aum, was a bit short and sharp.

I must…
dyspnea [disp-ne´ah] Breathlessness or shortness of breath; labored or difficult breathing. It is a sign of more than 50+ disorders and is primarily an indication of inadequate ventilation or of insufficient amounts of oxygen in the circulating blood.I must…

Breathe, he told me. I did a full chest non-yogic breath. This time from your diagram. In-hale. Ex-hale. Again. INHALE. EXHALE. An hour later I was breathing more freely. Breathing deeply and fully is our lighthouse to sensitizing ourselves to how we feel. When we breathe deeply, we listen to the cues coming from our bodies & our minds. We learn what is going on inside, so we are in an informed position to act positively. Without the breath, we have no space for informed decisions.

Breath. Slow down. Feel. YOu accomplish more from a place of ease than from tension. (Tara Stiles)
I’m still putting the pieces of my yoga-blogger lifestyle in some kinda’ order. Most days I am ecstatic because I love teaching yoga and I love putting myself out there on Instagram, observing the reactions, adjusting myself accordingly, going in for more. I’ve always been the type to dive right in. Case in point, I finally got my Ethiopian driver’s license, and I drummed up the nerve one weekend while home alone to drive. I learned to drive when I was 15, but there are no roundabouts in the American south. My first solo drive in Addis involved me hopping into a mess of a traffic pattern and barging my way in with the rest of the cars. Figuring out which red light was my red light. Tailgating the car in front of me when I couldn’t quite figure it out. Obviously, I lived to tell the tale – but this hopping in head first is an old habit of mine. In some cases, it’s worked brilliantly…. In other instances this dive-right in, yang attitude has been an underlying source of anxiety for me. My husband (bless him) has watched and coached from the sidelines, but finally, he says, you need to contact Joanne. My first response was, I’m fine!

 

 

Kaizen, which translates roughly to “good change,” is a Japanese productivity philosophy that helps you organize everything you do. In short, it means “constant, continuous improvement,” and is a mindset you can apply anywhere.

Joanne is a coach extraordinaire. After our first FaceTime call, I was stoked. I felt relieved. The brain fog had somewhat lifted, and I had a new sense of clarity in my life. One of the first tasks that Joanne had me do was to organize my days into 30-minute tasks. OK, I agreed! This makes so much sense. My coaching session was like an AA meeting. I felt (OVER) confident afterward and decided that I could go have a seat at the bar. My bar was starting the day with no real way of tracking time and progress. Monday rolled around, and I propped myself up on my computer and attempted to cram one thousand tasks into 6 hours. I needed to do ALL of those things BEFORE I started the Kaizen method. That night, I had a hangover. Facepalm. In yoga, sometimes we are tempted to do the same. We want to nail this pose for our ego or for the gram.’ We rush through the foundational basic poses that will serve us well in the more advanced poses — and in our daily lives. It sometimes takes a few crashes for us to re-align our practice with the yogic principals of ahimsa (non-violence) and satya (truthfulness).

I must…
Satya – complete honesty with ourselves requires us to create a little bit of space, stillness or at least some slowing-down of the mind. When we react instantly to situations on a purely primitive and emotional level, we’re often not seeing the truth and are acting from a place of fear and conditioning.I must…

Since my first relapse, I’ve faithfully adopted the Kazin method. The first day, I couldn’t believe my progress. I worked for 6 hours and doubled my productivity! I drank a 20-ounce glass of water at each 30-minute interval for a total of 160 ounces of water each day. Am I still where I would like to be? That’s a rhetorical question! But I suddenly feel as if my vision for my yoga practice including my teaching and blogging will become a reality — in less than five years!

I must…
How you practice anything is how you are at everything.I must…

I’m breathing more freely now! I believe it’s a combination of factors – from weekly appointments with my Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor; to yin yoga practices to open the front side of the body; to finding someone to help me clear my head; and finally to adopting methods such as the Kazin to help me create space in my daily grind. I suppose I’m lucky in a sense as when I have too much on my plate, my body reacts by constricting the flow of air. So I have to slow down. It’s as if we have developed this (dys)functional relationship — if I miss, ignore too many signals, my body quickly helps me adjust by ordering a slowdown. In my yoga, I’m working on a few sequences to prevent/respond to breathlessness, including anxiety and migraines. I hope that you find some time to soften, breath, and reflect during the daily grind. Check out the short video below and leave a comment.

 

Your likes and comments encourage me!

Stay cool my lovelies, and don’t forget to breath!