Saturday, April 23, 2011

Day 40 - The Great Vigil of Easter

Easter begins at sunset today (7:42 pm Eastern Standard Time), which is when 40 Days of Yoga ends. 

This is when the Paschal Candle is lit, when the Exultet is sung, when Alleluia returns. 

Yoga is all about restoration, healing and new life.  Yoga is about the resurrection I feel at the end of every yoga practice when I awake from corpse pose feeling like a young chick.

Thanks, everyone, for reading.  Keep in touch at The Sacred Ordinary (and the ordinary, ordinary). 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Day 39 - Coming Home

My husband and son have been gone five days on a college trip - an interesting and stressful time of life, choosing a school.

While they were away, my teenaged son and I had nice telephone chats.  

He asked, "What do you do while we're gone?" 

"Oh, work a lot.  Do yoga.  Play around with my blog.  I have a few posts I think you'd enjoy."

"Send them to me.  I'll read them as we drive to Boston."

OMG.  He wants to read my blog!!!  We can bond over writing.  Maybe he'll start a blog too.  We can get to know each other better.  I'll have another follower!

The road trip was serious guy time.  When they return the car leaks Red Bull, Amp, and Pringles cans, as well as a variety of disgusting cellophane bags.  Obviously Mrs. Fresh Fruit and Whole Grains did not go on the trip.

Happy to be home and to see me, there are hugs all around.  They've brought presents - Magic Hat pint glasses from Burlington.  (hum, what shall I use those for?)   My son gives me a bag of "Crunchy Cheddar Jalapeno Cheetos" (made with real cheese)

"Try your Cheetos." 

"I don't usually like Cheetos."

"I know, but these have jalapenos.  You like jalapenos."

To show good will, I pop one in my mouth.

Father and son laugh hysterically as I wince and grimace at the "flavor" and try to figure out where I can spit it out or if I should risk swallowing it. 

"Why did you make me put this horrible thing in my mouth?" 

The 17-year old replies, "Well, you made me read your blog."

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day 38 - Practice And The Unconscious

After 38 days I'm now dreaming about it.  Long and specific sequences have been sucked into my unconscious mind.  In the words of Dave Barry, "I am not making this up."

In the dream I sit erect, mindfully placing each finger in its proper place.  My eyes concentrated at

Save me....

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Day 37 - Yoga Class vs. Home Practice

People often say, "I don't need to go to church.  I can pray at home."  Amen.  I hear you.

I don't need to go to yoga class either.  I can do all the poses and meditations at home.  At home I can even customize them to perfectly suit my needs.

The hitch is, when I'm home I have to deal with the gravitational pull toward the sofa - toward eating cheese and drinking beer. 

This not helpful first thing in the morning.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day 36 - I Fell In Love And Fell Off The Wagon (Guest Written by Jeanne McCann)

A guest posting by triathlete, Jeanne McCann, whose popular blog Born Not to Run inspired 40 Days of Yoga.  Travel along her twisted path of healing and falling in love, which does not, btw, end up in Bali.

I discovered running late in life, at the advanced age of 48, after battling severe back pain of unknown etiology.  In other words, the doctors couldn't agree.  I spent two years in rehab and on drugs and then, in homage to the wave of religious technicolor movies in the 1950s, I literally threw away my cane, started walk-running, and completed the Marine Corps Marathon.

Back pain gone!

The next year I did the marathon again, only gave up the walking part.  By that time I had built a mini-brand as a blogger, joined a community of running bloggers, started training and the next thing you know I had morphed from a middle-aged slightly paunchy 11:30 minute per mile runner into a sleek (still slightly paunchy through -  sigh) 10:00 minute per mile runner.  I ran every race there was.  I knew all the runners.  I knew all the running clubs.  I knew all the running theories.  I read running books, listened to running podcasts, read running blogs, and had running friends.  One thing lead to another and before you could say Bob's Your Uncle I was out there doing triathlons.  I became, in short, an athlete.

I'm not telling you all this to make you feel bad.  God knows you're already feeling bad enough from watching Diane complete 40 days of yoga AND blogging (which is harder??  You tell ME.)  I tell you only so that you understand that when I fell in love, sometime around my birthday last year (February 7 thank you very much), it all went to hell in a handbasket.

I gradually replaced all that frenetic activity with, well, cooking.  Nesting.  Noodling.

It gradually occurred to me that I really really hated being rushed.  And if you've never participated in a triathlon, let me tell you:  rushing is required.  You actually train to rush.  You rush from one activity to the next and if you take too long, you lose time and you lose place and you lose face.

So I gradually cut back on my six-day-a-week training, never thinking it would signal the demise of my body.  

Since falling in love, I've developed Achilles enteritis, iliotibial band issues, and my back pain has returned with a vengence.  He's developed plantar fasciitis and bad knees! 

Whoever said love is pain wasn't kidding.

But now that we're settled and noodling and nesting all the live-long day, I'm finding there was a connection between feeling good and being active and being in love and getting gradually inactive. 

The straw was hopping on the scale this morning and seeing a horrible number.  A number that is so horrible it shouldn't even be allowed to exist.  When you reach that number, the scale should switch to binary or just start whistling or tell you a funny joke or something.  Anything but that number.

And I wouldn't even be hopping on the scale if it weren't for Miss Diane, a woman who watches her weight like it's her job.  Because experts be damned, apparently hopping on the scale every day actually works.

I've tried in vain to be kind to myself.  "I'll just be fat," I say to myself.  "Look at Rubens, he loved fat women!"  But Rubens is long dead and you know what?  Back then clothes were a little more forgiving.  You could wrap yourself up in long flowing robes and corsets and petticoats and whatall and also?  There were no sizes!  You needed a gown - someone took your measurements and whipped something up.  No need to fit.  Fit is so 20th century.

But I digress.  The point is, being in love shouldn't make your body fall apart.

Readers:  What advice do you have for Miss Lovebird?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Day 35 - In Front of God and Everybody

My advice is, if you work in a church, never, let's spell it out, E - V- E- R "take on" something for Lent instead of "giving up" something for Lent.  Extra responsibilities of Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil and Easter will drown you.  Between increasing services, practice sessions, and rehearsals, you will utterly regret ever "taking on" a discipline.  Stress will creep into your spiritual practice.

Having carefully counted the 40 days - 46 between Ash Wednesday and Easter with 6 Sundays off, I was shocked to hear the priest say during the parish announcments, that "Triduum" - Thursday, Friday and Saturday of Holy Week - is "not part of Lent."  WTF?  My blog is called 40 Days of Yoga.  Am I supposed to change it to "37 Days of Yoga"? 

The parish announcements went on - a rummage sale, a car wash - all the while I'm recounting on my fingers different ways to subtract three come up with 40.  By my estimation the priest is simply WRONG.  Now the priest is talking about the parish budget shortfall.  It's substantial.  The numbers are not good.  The priest gets to the end of the announcements and asks if anyone in the congregation has other information to share. 

I get off the organ bench and take the microphone, in front of God and Everybody. 

"I have just done a little calculating on my own - not about the church budget, but about the church calendar.  I want you all to know, there really isn't any way 40 days of Lent can end before Easter Vigil at sunset, even though I would be eternally grateful if they would because I've been doing 40 Days of Yoga.  Oh, You didn't know that?  Well, I'm sure you'd all like to hear more about it, so take the visitor's card out of your pew rack and pick up the little pencil next to the hymnal.  Write down this URL:  You can read all about my blog, and even, in the words of our Lord and Savior, "Follow Me!"  

I could see two lady ushers nodding knowingly to themselves in the back row.  They clearly understood my topic and my passion.   I testified a little more about yoga, India, exercise and all of the healing benefits available for everyone - what a difference it has made in my life and how they should take up yoga rather than watching American Idol.  Around this time two lady ushers emerged from the sacristy with a first aid box. 

When I woke up I was coughing and sputtering.  The usher ladies were putting away a little bottle of smelling salts.

I stood up, brushed myself off, walked over to the organ and played the offertory hymn.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Day 34 - Yoga Enhancement

The reason I love the studio's back corner has nothing to do with distance from the teacher or the mirror. 

It has to do with an extrasensory connection that happens only in that particular spot in the room.  To use language parlayed in alternative healing circles, that spot has "earth energy".  People who practice in that corner know what I'm talking about. 

In this corner, I dissolve, ameba-like, into Child's Pose.  Breathing into this primal position, my olfactory senses engaging with the studio's downstairs neighbor, enlivening and deepening the day's yoga practice through the much-loved aroma of Starbucks French Roast Coffee.