Saturday, April 30, 2011


Sometimes when I talk to newbies, I explain my heated vinyasa flow class as an arse-kicking workout followed by a short, supervised nap. 

I am most often greeted by a sideways 'what?' look not unlike the look I get from dogs when I 'jog' through the park. Most of the time they are looking for the arse-kicking, but I firmly believe that they stay for the nap.

What is savasana, and why do we stay, sweaty and exhausted when we could pop up and get to the car and get out of there? Don't tell me it is because you might get a foot rub or a savasana adjustment... The following are a few reasons you might stay, and/or what's in it for you.

1.  You might get an adjustment. Ok, fine, perhaps not the best reason to stay, but if you don't have another meaningful human interaction during a given day, the human contact can be just what you need.

2. You might get a foot rub. Where else in the world (please tell me) will you hold still for three minutes and someone will rub your feet?

3. If you are able to close your eyes and let go of the conscious breath, your mind could find the place of stillness, peace, and bliss. The field beyond judgement. Samadhi.

4. If you allow yourself a few minutes of relaxation after a difficult class, your blood vessels will take the opportunity to reset, funnel blood back towards your internal organs and supercharge your digestion and self-maintenance. Sort of like allowing your car's radiator to reset on a hot day.

5. You might find that feeling you did as a child... Lying on the sand after a long swim, sprawling in the grass after a brutal game of soccer, or making a snow angel after an intense day of sledding. Remember that? You've done it before, and that feeling is there for you every time you end a class.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Line

I've heard lately that we are happiest just at the border of our comfort zones. We need to be challenged just to the edge of our capacity. We wallow in our boredom when under stimulated, or burn out when forced into overdrive. I have personally experienced both in life: under stimulation drove me to alphabetize my spices and overstimulation has found me frantically emailing from The Throne in the middle of a conference, eating in the shower, and brushing my teeth while on the phone and doing squats. There are frequently occasions on my calendar in which I am somehow expecting myself to be three places at once.

You can tell which side of the line is my favorite.

It recently occurred to me that this happens on the mat as often as it does of the mat. I notice my fellow yogi(ni)s as well as my reflection trying to squeeze another drop, twist, bind, or balance out of every posture. I leave the line in the dust and push through, which ironically leaves me prepared to fall sleep on the couch/ floor as soon as I make it home. 

My husband teaches meditation, and more importantly, practices what he preaches. He meditates for nearly an hour a day. I have found that I am incapable of meditating without surreptitiously falling fast asleep. This takes precisely five minutes. In order to stay awake I have to think of things, like state capitals, what I will make for dinner tomorrow night, and what I should write my next blog post about. 

I ignore signposts that clearly read, "hey dorkus, the line was back that way," or "last chance for gas/food/restroom for the next 150 miles." who needs gas, food and restrooms? I have YOGA, which means I am fueled from within!

Does this happen to you? Does it sound slightly less logical when I say it?

It sounds less logical when I read it, too. Let's agree to take the first step towards approaching the line, which means finding it. Have you seen your line lately, or is it so beaten down from border crossings that it blends in with the horizon? Let's make an effort to see the line, both on and off the mat. Start in the microcosm that is your mat. Take one full breath before the bind. Find the line. Take child's pose. Close your eyes. Remind yourself that your fellow mat riders aren't racing you. So long as you all start and end class in your mat and breathing, you all win.

Even on this side of the line.