Expansion

Expansion

Giving is a good thing.

It has positive connotations, especially in the holiday season, starting with Thanksgiving and lasting through the end of the year.

It is good to give of our time, our talents, ourselves. 

But, when giving comes easy, other challenges can arise.

For me, giving is so much in my nature that receiving can actually be difficult, and this ironic concept was brought home in yoga just the other day.

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Heart Opener

Heart Opener

I would like to say I have an open heart.

It sounds nice and like something I should have.

Blessed with family and friends, I have people in my life for whom I open my heart.

Yet, the heart can go through some rough terrain over a period of time, and it can cause the guard gates to go up, requiring encouragement and often a leap of faith to get back in gear.

Wheel is one of my least favorite poses in yoga.

It is a back bend, something I have not done since I was a little girl.

More than 20 years ago, I sprained my lower back and have since been on guard against it getting hurt again.

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Weightlessness

Weightlessness

was pretty lucky to have enjoyed a fairly carefree childhood.

I have great memories, especially of summer evenings, when all my neighborhood friends would gather on the front lawn to play games, ride bikes and stay out until it got dark

In my elementary school years, I was actually pretty adventurous. I used to hop on the back of my friend’s bike, and he would drive wild all over the streets, careening down the most hilly ones at top speed. 

We would do the same on his skateboard, riding double and hanging on for dear life.

He tied a stick to a rope to a tree, and I hopped on and swung over the backyard’s creek from one bank to the other, until I had to jump before risking getting stuck still over the water.

I would ride my bike with no hands, fearless, and walk on the stilts my dad made.

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Obsession

Obsession

It was the first chilly Sunday morning of the fall, and I was anxious to get to yoga. 

The weekend class is one of my favorite classes.

It is the perfect hour, still morning but late enough to have time to laze around a bit.

It is crowded; the people are all friendly, and the class lasts longer than usual. There is something about the large group and the extra 15 minutes.

From the start, the energy is high, and it's catching.

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Open Face

Open Face

I often get to help my daughter with her work in New York City and, each time I go, I pack up my yoga mat and together we attend as many classes as our schedule allows.

Although I am early on in my working out, my daughter has been cross training for many years.

She works out with a trainer, runs along the East River and takes yoga religiously.

I am always amazed that she can just throw her hair up, put on her workout gear and look beautiful before, during and after her sweat.

I even have a memory of one of her school coaches asking me, How is it she looks like she just got off the runway instead of the soccer field?

I, on the other hand, would never leave the house without hair and makeup done, much less appear in New York City that way. Having my bangs trimmed and done was always key to a good day.

Yoga, however, has changed all that.

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Anger

Anger

I had been in great spirits as of late, and I credited this with my almost daily yoga practice.

I loved my studio, my class, my fellow yogis, my instructor and my mat.

I was seeing the bright side of most things, most days. It was as if an angel was riding on my shoulder.

I was on a yoga high even on Thursdays, my off day.

So imagine my surprise when my instructor told me I was holding anger in my quads.

But, I’m not angry, I said, to which he replied that the anger was in my quads.

But, what am I angry about? I asked, to which he answered that he could not say but that it was in my quads.

Well, what am I supposed to do with it? I followed up, to which he answered, Just do the poses and release it.

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Beginning

Beginning

It was the end of October, the days were getting shorter, darkness falling earlier and earlier. 

This is usually the start of a sort of hibernation for me, driving home from work in the crisp and cold with the 6 p.m. stars already shining. 

Not really the time of year to embark on any sort of change. 

During this time, I am not sure what made me finally take action on what had been sitting on the floor of my car, among so many other things: A flyer for the new yoga studio less than a mile from my home. 

I looked at the schedule, chose a class, called a friend and showed up. 

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