"Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed." -- Mary Oliver
With a heart full of gratitude, I want to share the joyous news that our family welcomed Maverick Taj on September 13. As his first name suggests (though it's not a reference to "Top Gun" as much as it is to the epic wave in Northern California), Maverick had his own birth plan and, rather than waiting to arrive at the birthing center as Robb and I had planned, he was born at home. From these first beautiful, exciting moments of his life, he has been a wonderful teacher, presenting me with endless opportunities to "practice what I preach:" letting go of expectations, attachments and going with the flow, accepting myself as I am right now, asking for and receiving help, and offering whole-hearted gratitude.
Since time on my yoga mat is limited now, I'm reminded of what it means to "practice" yoga, which is not simply a series of physical postures but rather a way of living fully in the present moment, allowing whatever arises to be an opportunity to connect with what is highest and best. This ability to be with what is, to recognize all of life as a chance to practice yoga is an essential and ongoing lesson in my life. I love how the writer and Buddhist practitioner Gary Snyder talks about the importance of seeing all of life as our practice in his book The Practice of the Wild:
"It is as hard to get the children herded into the car pool and down the road to the bus as it is to chant sutras in the Buddha-hall on a cold morning. One move is not better than the other, each can be quite boring, and they both have the virtuous quality of repetition. Repetition and ritual and their good results come in many forms. Changing the filter, wiping noses, going to meetings, picking up around the house, washing dishes, checking the dipstick--don't let yourself think these are distracting you from your more serious pursuits. Such a round of chores is not a set of difficulties we hope to escape from so that we may do our 'practice' which will put us on a 'path'--it is our path."
I am learning to relish the simplicity of my sadhana (practice)--the mundane, often boring tasks of everyday life with a newborn. Though each day brings its own uncertainties, there is repetition and ritual that revolves around mine and my family's needs--food, sleep, and love. And really, this is all that we need. To be nourished, to rest, and to be nurtured and cherished for who we are. And yet, it is so easy to forget and forego these basic needs for what may seem like more important demands or exciting matters. But at what expense?
We all have experienced what happens when we don't take good care of ourselves, when we allow other things--people, work, hobbies, the never-ending "to-do" list--to take priority over our well-being. Stress. Fatique. Illness. Burnout. At this point, self-care becomes a necessity for survival and so, often begrudgingly, we slow down; we take some time off; we eat well; we go to bed early; we connect with the people who remind us who we really are and what is really important to us. What if, instead of waiting for a crisis to force us into attending to our basic needs, we made it apart of our daily lives, the foundation of our sadhana?
I've been exploring this question for the past year, and slowly and steadily, I've experienced some major shifts in my life on every level: physical, mental, and spiritual. One thing that has helped me a lot with making positive changes is doing a Detox. I'm not talking about living off of lemon-water for a week, though some people dig that. For me, Detox means setting aside some time to focus on letting go of what isn't serving me right now (habits, thought patterns, foods) and incorporating ways of supporting what is highest and best in myself (self-massage, time in nature, meditation, nourishing foods, unplugging from technology, connecting with the people I love).
Starting tomorrow, Saturday, October 11, I'll be joining dozens of others for the Yogahealer Fall Yogi Detox. This will be the second Detox that I've done with the Yogahealer community, lead by Cate Stillman who is a truly dynamic teacher. Cate recently offered a free call for people who are curious to know more about the Yogi Detox. It's full of information and tips that you can benefit from, whether you're thinking of doing a detox right now or not. Here's the link:
The change in seasons is an optimal time to detox (out with the old, in with the new), and I'm really looking forward to it. This time, I am eager to focus on re-integrating a regular meditation practice into my day, going to bed when Maverick does, and eating a plant-based diet. No fasting. No drastic measures. Just a commitment to feeding my body, mind, and heart with love. Meeting my basic needs so that I can meet my family's needs. While I'm currently taking a pause from being active in the yoga community to focus on my family, I'm eager to stay connected to you, my friends in the Kula. Perhaps you'd like to join me in the Yogidetox and let it be a way for us to keep in touch. If you're interested or have any questions, please send me a message or give me a call; I'd love to hear from you! And if you do join, be sure to let me know. I'm so curious to know how you're evolving, and to be able to support you in your sadhana.
Wherever you are reading this right now, may you relish the preciousness of this moment, allowing whatever unfolds to be an opportunity to practice yoga.