Sunday, October 24, 2010

Monday - Same same but different?

Blown the cobwebs away this morning with a great yoga practice and have come away with another little lesson.

So my lesson really started on Sunday; after the steely, determined rain during Sunday I decided to go to yoga in the evening to get out of the house. I don't often do this as it has, in the past, meant I'm quite tired and leaden for my Monday morning practice. But, I was bouncing, flying, landing softly, yet strong and consistent. So, like everything in yoga, there's the eternal capacity for surprise. I mean the surprises are not huge, but then nothing in yoga is huge, you're really operating in this subtle, oh so subtle space, where the progress is minute, and the practice evolves slowly, it's like you're watching one of those wildlife documentaries where they've slowed down a leopard chasing a gazelle. 

So, with this idea in mind I'll try and keep my capacity-for-surprise candle a-burning. It's so easy just to think about your week as if it's just another same same week. Wake up Monday, do yoga, have breaky, play with doggy, have lunch, more work, teach class.. But this Monday (like every Monday) is going to be (and should be) different. This week I'll bring a new attitude, a dollop of surrender and a lot less guilt.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

So so tired

Keeping my little fella entertained, whilst teaching and trying to come up with creative ideas for some writing pieces is starting to take its toll. I'm feeling tired. Oh so tired.

I know that in my yoga practice when tiredness sets its weary sights on you and your legs feel leaden and you're ready to stop, it's a case of mind over matter and when that next knackering chataranga pops up I'm telling myself, 'stick with it, bring lightness'

But, as with so many things off the mat. It's not that easy to remember to do this in real life.

He prowls around looking for things to entertain him, and once he's tired of his toys (which takes about 3 minutes now) he sets his sight on the remote control, my shoes, the sofas, the rug in the lounge. I already took him down the park today and he's played around with all the other bigger dogs, he's had a sleep and now he's back on the trouble trail, headed for destination Deep Trouble. And he looks at me with those reproachful eyes of his saying 'You're no fun, I'm bored"

I knew that having a dog would be a lifestyle change, and down the park I'm all breezy sweetness; "oh yes, this little monkey is so much fun."

But now, in one of my more weary moments, I'm just busting for my old life back again.

Even to be working full time and having some adult stimulation.

Anyway, whinge whinge whinge. It's all I feel like i do on here.

Sorry guys. Trying to keep the yoga focus. Another chataranga coming up.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Are we being over-motivated?

Earlier today I was reading a post on Copyblogger which quoted Madonna:

 Better to live one year as a tiger than a hundred as a sheep.
~ Madonna
It was a fairly rare moment for me to read an entire post, but I was catching a few minutes to myself between working,  games of ball, training and treat giving.

You see there I was lying across the sofa with my iPhone at 11am (feeling very un-tiger, Madonna - sorry) drifting vaguely through the numerous blogs and newsletters I've signed up to, and I fell upon this one. And, listen up folks, I actually read it through - start to finish.

I've noticed that my approach to  newsletters mirrors my attitude to life, albeit a quite smudgy, splattered mirror... or would that be life? I subscribe to so many websites, blogs, e-newsletter and, like a large pan of porridge bubbling over with good intentions, I have this heady idea that by signing up to this blogger's amusing insights on life, it will broaden my horizons, expand my mind, make me funny, witty, interesting and every other cliche of well-intentioned betterment.

Mostly I just hit delete before even opening the email.

And then I feel guilty, mildly ignorant. Do I not care about the world? Do I not want to improve myself?

Naturally, since I don't read that many of the many newsletters I sign up to, I pick carefully those which I do. I'm usually drawn to ones with enticing subject lines, like this Madonna one - 'Madonna's 6 Secrets to Personal Branding Mastery'. In fact Copyblogger do this amazingly well. I mean check out these for starters:

Ernest Hemingway's Top 5 Tips for Writing Well
3 Steps to Turn Yourself from Good to Great

And, for mains, my personal favourite...

How to be interesting

But that's where the crusade towards personal greatness ends. If you're lucky I'll skim one post very quickly. If you're really lucky I might read it through to the end, kind of. The most luck you're getting is that I'll read it and pass it onto someone (most likely my husband).

I will never... I repeat, never, act upon any of the advice.

You see the thing is, I think I'm getting a bit weary of being 'motivated' by everything I read.

I mean I've heard that Madonna quote a few times, though I must say I didn't realise it was Madonna who said that, and sure, she's amazing. She is a Master. She's success embodied and undressed.

She's also scary. I mean I've never met her, but I reckon I'd whimper at her feet with my tail down, rather like Conan was at the dog park today. He's learnt his place. Maybe I need to learn mine.

 I just think that there's so much focus on finding the 'answer' externally, through books, websites, seminars, inspiring lists of things I could be doing more of and better. You can marinate too long in these heavy 'sauces' of advice until suddenly you crave something light, lemony and simple.

I want to stop reading so much (and, as you know, I'm reading a fraction of what I could be reading) and start actioning at least something. I want to take nibbles rather than great greedy mouthfuls of advice, and season it lightly.

Next blog post I read I'll try take their advice rather than chew it over on the sofa for 12 seconds before going back to my sheep-like slightly flawed, but surely quite normal (?) life again.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Back on the yoga train

...That is the teaching yoga train. Choo choo!

It's been so difficult to concentrate lately, and I've not fully connected with my teaching for a couple of weeks now. Coincidently since I got back from the UK and acquired a four legged fluff ball ('powder puff' as the vet called him!) It's like my puppy has soaked up all my brain juice in that big fluffy cloud of a coat of his. But I'm feeling it coming back.

I taught three classes over the weekend and I'm right back into loving the teaching. Loving it.

Sometimes you've just gotta jump back into it to realise how much you enjoy it.

It was a back to back Saturday morning class to start with, which is 3 hours of non-stop teaching. It's pretty hardcore, mainly because you're so concentrated and focused and of course yakking, for a full three hours. I was pretty sick of the sound of my voice by the end, which was sounding ever-croakier by the minute. But in fact I felt so connected with what I was doing by the end of the class that I didn't really even notice.

Then last night I taught again. Just 10 students and they all knew the sequence really well so there was a great flow and energy in the room. I started the practice off with a sitting breathing practice, whcih I rarely do, but should do more often. Just listening to the breath and becoming aware. Then I got the students to consider an intention for their practice and to keep that throughout their practice.

I have no idea if they did that (though of course at the end of the class I reminded them to reflect on it) which was odd, because I still have no idea if they did. Yoga teaching can be so feedback-less. It's like you're setting people off on a journey to a completely unknown place, like a far, dark corner of the moon, and you've no idea where they're going or what they're experiencing. In fact it's all a bit like that, even when giving adjustments, you've still got little idea of how much they are enjoying it and how much they're being polite.

Anyway, I'm not concerned with these things. I'm just happy to be back teaching and getting some focus back. Without being too dramatic, (okay I'll be a little bit of a drama queen) but I felt as if I'd almost disappeared in a puff of.. err powder. But I'm hauling it back in now and feeling a little more happy.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A thought whilst my boy sleeps

Yep, I'm stealing a few blue squeaky ball-free moments to update you bloggy. Well, the invested hours appear to be paying off (a lesson in 'tapas' - dedication and commitment)

My protege is now:
  1. Pretty much toilet trained. Aside from the occasional accident. Not sure if my neighbours are starting to find my high pitched 'go peeeeee! good boy' a little gratey yet? 
  2. He sits
  3. He gives his paw (actually he gives both paws, one after the other)
  4. He comes
  5. He brings
  6. He drops (this is stretching the truth, he drops when he's given a treat and spontaneously one in five times, but it's a start)
  7. He rolls over
  8. I'll get it on video soon and then I promise I'll shut up about the dog.
I was writing a piece on the Qi blog about how dogs can teach us more than we know about yoga and my friend, who is staying with us at the moment reminded me of another aspect of this. I touched on stuff like how it makes us more present, and of course my example above of how he's teaching me to be patient and accept that 'all is coming' (thanks Pattabhi Jois - funny how relevant that foreign sounding phrase is these days).. but anyway my friend reminded me that sometimes when I feel anger and frustration with Conan (like now when he barked in my face, little monkey), after things have cooled down and he's frantically licking my face, like it's a tasty ice cream, I find him so easy to forgive. 

Why is it so hard to forgive and accept humans though. I mean I'm sure I'm not the worst person for this, but I do admit that there are times when I hold a mini-grudge with people who, ultimately don't mean it, they're just different. Like Conan, their minds are slightly differently attuned. 


Thanks Conan, thanks Nads