Sacred Space

A lovely room that does not resemble
Jen's regular practice space.
Originally uploaded by beauty that moves.

My yoga home practice space is not a room dedicated to yoga and meditation with a lovely alter or plenty of wall space for practicing inversions.

I live in an old 3 bedroom row house housing 3 adults and a toddler, so pretty much every square inch of space gets used. On the second floor, we go vertical too, with shelving a couple feet down from the ceiling in 2 of the 3 rooms and 4 sets of floor to ceiling bookcases (a total of 6 once you count the ones in the front hall downstairs).

We've just hatched a plan to begin transitioning Maya to her own bed this summer, and that too involves going vertical with a custom built loft in what will eventually be Maya's own room.

So, my practice space, especially when I don't leave myself time to pick up more than the bare minimum, tends to look more like:

Continue Reading Sacred Space

Musings on Time

Mac got home yesterday evening complaining about the unusual amount of traffic he had encountered on his way back from Towson. He asked what time I needed to leave to make it to my yoga class, I answered, 6:30 for a 6:45 class. By 6:25, I was running late, as usual, and at 6:35 tore out of the house for the brief ride over to the studio. Upon entering, I noticed two things: one, this was not the usual instructor and, two, she had already started.

I pulled off my shoes and left them and my bike helmet on the shelf in the entryway, prepped my other things for easy stashing on the studio shelf, made some comment to the receptionist about someday being on time, and slipped into the studio. I rolled out my mat at the back of the class and took a few moments to settle before joining in. I was surprised to find that Stacey, the substitute instructor, was further into the warmup than I expected. Glancing at the clock in the studio I noted that it was just 6:45; what time had she started?

I must have looked puzzled and Stacey warmly informed me that we were doing the right side now. As I followed along into my second balancing table pose moments later, she made a comment about how the class was balancing so well that folks should consider staying for the second class. Second class? I take the second class. It starts at . . . 7:45.

I was an hour early for that class and 30 minutes late for this one. I had a bit of trouble balancing in single side balancing table because of the chuckling I was doing. I accidentally took half a core yoga class (in addition to my own) yesterday evening because I got tripped up over time.

Which brings me to my watch.

Running watch and parrotlet In the past few weeks both my athletic watch and my regular watch have stopped running. Honestly, I'm enjoying watchless life. I find not having a watch during my morning bike commute doesn't affect how quickly I get to the office but it does affect how often I check the time. Trains too go no faster because riders check their watches and worry about how late they might be. Fewer checks mean more relaxed ride.

It's been on my to do list to go to the Ballston Mall (now minutes from my office desk) to get the batteries replaced, but I keep not doing it. I think I'm going to finally do it tomorrow because I actually count on my athletic watch to time intervals when I run but I'm wondering about remaining watchless the rest of the time.

Between wall clocks, computers, and phones, it's not like I'm having trouble finding out the time. But it's nice to get away from it all (even if my cell phone is only a backpack pocket away).

Yoga Weekend – Reflecting on Yoga During Pregnancy



My daughter attended all nine Anusara
Yoga Immersion Weekends – but only
one on the outside.

 First cold weather car ride on Flickr

Back in February at the same time we decided it was finally time to have a baby, I signed up for a nine month Anusara Immersion program.

For the past eight months, I spent one weekend a month practicing asana and exploring Anusara, Tantric, and other schools of yogic philosophy with an amazing group of yogis.  For eight months, they watched Maya grow.  This weekend, they met her.

I was just a few weeks pregnant when I wrote the following essay on the meaning of the first principle of Anusara yoga.

Opening to Grace

Right now, to me, opening to grace means relinquishing the illusion of control in order to surrender to the divine.

If proper Attitude is a balance between effort and surrender, my challenge is to let go of my effort drive.  The drive to do more, push harder, set more goals, make more plans, and take on more projects can have an addictive quality and interferes with balance.  Resolution, willpower, creativity, and enthusiasm, crowd out mindfulness, quiet, harmony, and acceptance.

It is my practice on the yoga mat that regularly reminds me to release and surrender, opening to grace and a balance of essential heart qualities.

My husband and I are expecting our first child in November.  Even the first few weeks of this pregnancy has broken down any illusion of my control over it. No amount of effort on my part ensures a happy outcome and healthy child. There is no perfect dose of vitamins, exercise, rest, or extensive research that guarantees a healthy delivery. In fact, indulging a desire to control every aspect of pregnancy is not only futile, it may be harmful as it will inevitably lead to frustration, worry and stress.  While I can be a partner in creating this new life, I am not in charge of it; it is the work of the divine. This pregnancy has driven home the undeniable truth that only in surrendering to the divine, can I truly become a partner in creation.

Over the next several months, I will work to balance effort with surrender both on and off the mat for, at this moment, that is what opening to grace means to me.


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