October, 2014

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Sunday, October 19th, 2014

32 was India.  It was being a stakeholder in High School Redesign.  It was the Magnificent Mile.  40 Days of uninterupted yoga.  It was coaching a swim meet again.  Floating down the bow.  A hop over to Vancouver to see the steam clock.  Turkey dinners and cards.

It was some exhaustion.  Lots of laughing.  Some running and sometimes even liking it.

So now 33.  It begins peeling and cutting colourful carrots for a few friends and mixing some punch while I visit my sister and brother-in-law (slash future roommate for a few months).  Then with my name falling from the drawbox–although it might as well have been the sky–for free yoga for the foreseeable future.  Some hints of what this tree ring will bring.

No India (I don’t think!).  But Social Work 101 buckling down and getting it done.  Amsterdam and fingers crossed for the bathtub, er Stedelijk Museum. Some real hitting the mat still I’m thinking.  Maybe I’ll actually finish Republic of Nothing before I teach it.  And Hamlet again, too.  Wouldn’t French be nice again?  And how serious is the New Orleans or Mediterranean talk?

A year for intentional:

Gathering. Adventuring. Learning. Space-creating.  Appreciating.

With openness to the unexpected.

Day 40 – Beginning. (again.)

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Day 40.  I’m alive.

With the theme of the class being (being comfortable with) silence, should I type more?

Well I will.  Three quick things:

  1. There’s a long standing Lehmann family tradition.  If you’re not feeling your best, shower and get ready to face the outside world.  You’ll feel better.  At least for a bit.  Not that rest is never the answer, pajama wallowing isn’t always necessary either.
  2. Walking in, someone else doing their 40 Days says “Day 40, now what?” at the filtered water maybe with some sense of loss.  I just smile.  How poetic?  Now what?!  So much possibility.
  3. Natarajasana.  Dancer’s pose.  I’m essentially sure that it was the first (on each side of course) this entire 40 days.  What a nice celebration asana.  Really, in any other circumstance I would have sat tonight out, but what a nice one to be confident in, despite anything else.

I get teased for putting my sticker on the sticker chart before practice instead of afterwards.  Putting it up before I’m sure I get a green one, which comes after yesterday’s yellow.  Also a nice coincidence because yesterday’s practice’s cuing emphasized green (and heart chakra), so a nice reminder.  Day 40 sticker already up, afterwards all I have left to do is wipe off my mat, and walk into the evening with a proud smile.  Not so different than any other end of practice wiping off of the mat.  But different too.

Day 40.  I’m alive.  And 33 tomorrow.  Awesome!

And if the first song didn’t do it for you 😉 then how about this song* in honour of Erin Evans doing a workshop tonight at the ‘Tree (couldn’t make tonight’s but have practiced with her before when she introduced this during savasana).  I’ve actually been meaning to post this one for awhile, but couldn’t remember the name.  Then today, it just came to me.

*It’s an interesting one, I’m guessing with some roots in Goa, India–with a few controversial lines which isn’t lost on me, so don’t think sharing is endorsing each line:

Day 39 – Appreciate

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

I’m getting to 9:00 p.m.  Yoga Nidra no matter what.  I’m actually doing a few things no matter what.  I’m pushing through.  I’m not dying but but I’m not my 100% healthy self and there are a few things on the horizon I really want to make work.

Catherine sends a kind note last night that has me taking her up on an offer to get some echinacea and lemon grass (and in her words other potions) enlisted to give me a boost.  I feel guilty taking her up on this, but commit to some kind of paying forward or return on kindness.  And accept.

I get to school and know that with some planning I can make things work.  For one day.  And it won’t take total agony either.  My mood is a little punchy, but it actually makes it so I laugh with my classes more than I might otherwise.  Swim practice has me running things solo, but I can’t help but thinking–as low energy as I am and as hard as yelling is–swimming is one of my most innate skills.  I’m having fun.  Practice goes great.  And we even get some fly in.  Not an easy stroke to do or teach.  Then Europe trip meeting.  Yup, a marathon day.  But a kind parent has brought dinner in to make it all work and dinner is amazing.  Indian food.  I convince myself the curry will be an additional boost to the echinacea and lemon grass tea.  And I don’t mind thinking about upcoming travel.  Ever.

So 9:00 p.m. yoga.  I unroll my mat.  I’m cautious not to breath on anyone.  And I practice.  Gratitude comes easily.  And rest comes easily times one thousand.  I’m not moping at all.  I’m appreciating the time in the small room to unwind and let go.  And celebrate the victory of the day really.  And this 40 days.   And my colleagues.  And the Bodhi Tree.  And Catherine who I’m pretty sure would do anything to make this practice possible for anyone.  And my students.  And once you start pulling at the threads of gratitude: family.  favourite asanas.  a book I’m really getting into.  an upcoming birthday.  a cozy condo. …..Lots to celebrate.  More than can fit into a post or practice.

Day 39.  Has a bit of a penultimate feel to it.  And if I’m this grateful today feeling like this, what could that mean for Day 40?  Anything at all.  That’s what makes each day so interesting.  And this round so… well… amazing.

Day 38 – Gather

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

So I don’t want to admit it.  Or tell anyone.  But I’m sick.  Really oddly sick actually.  I feel fine everywhere except my throat is on fire.  On fire enough that I had to stop and grab something today after work (and after practice).  Day 38 and birthday Saturday… so this can’t be?!  Swim practice and Europe Trip meeting tomorrow. Lesson plans that would be pretty much impossible for anyone else.  You get it.

My first sign was maybe this morning.  I wasn’t off track BUT I did set my alarm for morning practice and when it went off there was a ZERO percent chance of morning practice happening.  It wasn’t even a thought.  Reflex: nope, one more hour.

So with the end so close I can’t imagine not finishing (and I’m not setting up for that).  Practicing when sick is irresponsible because I don’t want to make anyone else worse for wear at all either.  So far I’m chalking this up to maybe allergies (dust is a deadly one for me) or some freak post nasal drip (TMI?) in all this dryness.  The plan is to get lots of sleep and see what tomorrow brings.  And do anything to make sure Saturday is in order (Vitamin C, essential oils, steam, veggies, garlic, haha you get it) to be with friends on the big three-three.  I don’t feel this way often.  At all, at all.  So it’s all a bit odd.  And unexpected.

I’d be lying if I said my attention in practice wasn’t gauging all this (Am I fine?  Is it better?  Am I fine?  Is it better?).  I was attuned though to the cuing of collecting, or bringing together, parts of self (or potential lost parts of self) for practicing with a sense of wholeness (or fullness).  Poses were tough with some balance work and hamstring holds but I was able to do pretty alright.  Some of that was a physical limbs-into-core but there was also a mental and emotional sense of bringing things in.  (I never know how yoga-talk this all sounds).

This whole 40 days has been about recollecting in a way.  90 minutes to myself (sometimes in a whirlwind otherwise).  Day by day, versus radical change, progress.  Some cutting out of junk.

And yet.  Day 38 hits with some unexpected. Hmmmm…

Day 37 – Trust

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Things really settle in today.  On and off the mat.

A major crisis was averted with an online course I’m taking.  Out of the blue, I check to see when the deadline is.  The deadline is sooner than I thought (November 14th) and I was honestly afraid to check.  What’s amazing though is that I have to apply for my final exam by October 14th….. today.  So I do.  I had no idea!  Glad I didn’t avoid looking into things to the point of catastrophe.  Now to get on with the actual coursework.

But enough with that.

Work wise, we’re really into the swing of things.  Shakespeare starts.  An Arthur Miller play (did you know he was married to Marilyn Monroe?) that I vividly remember from my own Grade 12 year.  Projects coming to life.

And practice.

Well it’s day 37.  And I can tell.  Crescent lunges aren’t easy but they’re possible.  Back bends have me reaching back pretty safely.  Soles of feet are even more open.

Balance poses especially have me staying with my breath.  It’s not like I’m 100% rock solid, but I’m there.  And I’m noticing the difference between some wiggling and wobbling and a potential take-out of my mat neighbour: not just assuming both are always the same.

Things are settling.  Things are working out.  Things are evolving.  They’re interesting.  They’re feeling good (and if not good, authentic).

Tomorrow’s looking like a morning practice (perhaps the last of this series?) so I can open up the evening to get Saturday in order.  Odd thinking of Saturday: day 41.  😉  Morning 38 … Then bam, bam.  Thursday, Friday: 39, 40.

Day 36 – Arrive

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Not so much the getting to class.  But that’s been an important daily process, too.

The being where I’m at.  The being in my seat (and body).  The being mentally in asana and not elsewhere.

Tonight’s class was a heartfelt one.  I was able to get out into the beautiful fall day for a 5k river run.  Which was awesome.  The first since Melissa’s actually.  The run felt pretty great but my calves were pretty quick to tighten (and remain tight for yoga afterwards).  I was also able to get out for Dim Sum before that run but not so much Dim Sum that I was running on a full belly, haha.

Class had me feeling strong.  For arm balances.  For some Warrior III work.  Even for core (which I shouldn’t be dreading when it’s a Core class).

At one point towards the class I experienced something I hadn’t maybe in a bit.  A real coming to presence.  I wasn’t pushing or resting or intention (re)setting or drifting or tweaking.  I was just there.  It sounds odd.  But I was there and just feeling really good.  Content.  And I noticed, too, how that contentedness was a bit of the exception at least for this practice if not the last few.   Enough that it was a bit of a “whoa” or even “whooshing in” experience, of this feels……. nice.   and right.   And good.

So I’ll take it.  And see where some of that takes me for the final 4.

Day 35 – Cultivate

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Day 35 has me at a bit of a loss for reflection here.  Which is unusual.  Really unusual actually.

Practice is a steady one.  Heart opening.  Shanti achieves what it’s potentially meant to, some morning peace.

The day unfolds really meaningfully.  For the second time after Sunday Shanti I grab a Dulce coffee from Phil and Sebastian.  I organize for my day.  And head home for some family time.  Thanksgiving thanks giving.

I see both grandmas.  I visit my parents.  I enjoy turkey and warm conversation.  Cards.  Talk of Vegas and Ireland and Montreal and New York.

I head back to the city for a bit of an adventure.  And in my 90 minute drive back to that adventure I have some time for contemplation.  With the upcoming evening, I’m really attached to one particular outcome but I find myself noticing this and trying to hope for the best outcome rather than a particular one.  Not easy.  And potentially not successful.

So beyond the cryptic previous bit, this 40 Days.  What’s come of it?  Do I know?  What’s stirred up?  What have I been particularly conscious of?  By practicing, by avoiding (or at least noticing) some patterns… what?   Without getting too yoga-talky.  This practice opens me up a bit.  But not always just to the better.  To some of the difficult too.  To trying, sure.  But trying doesn’t always mean getting either.  At all.

The not-dulling, and not-avoiding, and not-not-realizing can be awesome but a bit awful too.  Adult life is a lot.  And today a vivid reminder of all that that means.  The morning, the  day and evening, filled with amazing.  But some unsureness to.  Maybe even disappointment.

But avoid the disappointment and avoid the amazing, non?  So practice not avoiding anything. much. at all.  Practice.


Day 34 – Gratitude

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

Thankfulness comes pretty easily on a sunny Saturday morning on a long weekend.  Especially when that long weekend is one named for and devoted to thanksgiving.

A long overdue iPhone hello.  A washing machine full of non-cotton (shorts and yogashirts).  An awesome practice.

Tomorrow dinner at the farm and a trip to the hometown.  Seems like an evening out is brewing too.

Practice today is heartfelt.  The quad stretches and pigeons were welcome.  The longer holds towards the end of practice were super welcome.  The room isn’t  crazy full so there is lots of room to sprawl out and get some good stretching in.  Adjustments reminded me where I was potentially overdoing it.  Hamstrings have me “into” practice.  I always seem quasi-able to stretch my hamstrings.  But anything requiring a lifted leg have my legs crazy-not-straight and not out at all.

While practice has been awesome this round so has been connecting with each teacher’s teachings (and teaching styles).  Of course, as a teacher, I find the different approaches interesting from that point-of-view but it’s been such a benefit to learn from a community of expertise, each person with so much passion and kindness.