Just Sit? That’s Deep. And Impossible.

I’m missing yoga. I’ve been put on the injured reserve list with tons of “no’s.” I’m active. I don’t sit still. Maybe it’s ADHD, maybe it’s the bad athlete syndrome….I’ve got something to prove. “You ran six miles, I’ll run sixteen.” I’ve got a car, distance is entirely unnecessary. But I do it.

I’ve given up the gym for nature. The gym’s too competitive–I’m always peaking at the person in front of me…She’s going 7.1mph, I can do 10. There’s no reason for it. Needless competitiveness tears people down. Exercise should be one of two things, team building, spirit building or both. Always leave exercise smiling.

Nature makes me smile. There’s nothing like running a solid seven miles leaping over horse manure in the street. It’s exhilarating. The feel of the cold going up my nostrils with my favorite play list…nothing like it. I miss it.

Naturally, I’m grumpy at my doctor who said, “No exercise.” What doctor says that? Next he’ll be saying, “I’d like you to start drinking, eat donuts and chips, and, oh, here’s a crack pipe from the pharmaceutical rep. Three times a day should do it.”

It’s not his fault. He’s just the messenger with the sheepskins on his wall. Delivering the letter of the law. No running, no kickboxing, and no….yoga? What kind of person banishes a person from yoga?

“Are you crazy?” my friend said, “I’d KILL to have doctors tell me to sit on a couch and not exercise.” My friends all want his business card. Most people go from “couch to 5K,” I’m going from seven miles to couch. Impossible for me.

So I turned to my yogi friends.

Yogini one, the person who got me into this yoga-loving mess to begin with, listened with compassion to the “letter of the law.” Yes, I’m looking for a loophole and an accomplice here…

She thought. She responded. “Just sit. Sit for an hour each day.” Who wants advice like that? I’m looking for something more like “Ah HA! Your doctor forgot to banish this. You can beat yourself up with THIS yoga, and it’s all perfectly legal.” But instead, she said “Just sit.” Like Gandhi, when his people told him his schedule didn’t allow him an hour to sit, reportedly said “Then I’ll sit for two.”

Yoga Friend Two told me I could stand in a tree pose forever. What?? No fun! They’re all afraid of lawyers, I think. They won’t help me be disobedient. I thought good friends were put on this earth to help us get dirt on our new clothing and get us in trouble.

I decided on “just sit.” Neither the spirit of Gandhi nor Yoga Friend One remembers to factor in The Boy. I meditate when Declan doesn’t find me. Lately I’ve been a little off. He thinks it’s “hide and seek.”

I plopped Declan in front of a good movie. I thought, “I think I’ll sit now. Possibly even meditate.” I shut down my work, taking a mental step toward the other room.

Screen Shot 2013-12-06 at 5.45.09 AM“MOM! I need you!”


“Come HERE!” The boy can sniffs out meditation like he finds yoga.

“Look. This is funny.” I laughed. Briefly.

“Watch your show, Mommy has to do…some stuff.” If I said “meditation” he’d destroy it.


I went. I sat. I accomplished 2.5 minutes of sitting.


“No you don’t.”


I run for “I broke it.” I never know what “it” will be. Parts of my desk–the one supporting my computer, were strewn across the floor.

“It was an accident.” Dismantling my desk…an accident? I put it back together.

“Don’t do it again. Now, I need a minute.” Actually, I was hoping for a series of them, strung together. “Watch your show, please.”

I went. I sat. I looked up. There was a fire-breathing dragon in my face.

“Are you doing YOGA?” No, please don’t think I’m doing yoga. You’ll never leave.

“No, I’m planning dinner. I think I’ll make broccoli.” He ran away.

And so this continued I was able to attach twelve glorious minutes together. Twelve minutes of sitting and doing nothing. I never “do nothing.”

I fell asleep. Sitting. In a pretty good posture.

I heard a noise. I looked at the clock. Minute thirteen.

Yoga Friend One suggested I at least try for twenty minutes. That’s a 60% discount off the original full hour. “Have Rusty watch Declan so you can do it.”

If Rusty watched Declan and said “Leave Mommy alone,” Declan would know something was up. Sneaking is the only way.

Settling for ten minutes of sitting and two minutes of sleep I declared victory. The biggest win I’ve had all day.

Time to get up.

And make the vegetables…

Note: Yoga Friend One has an amazing blog. I especially liked her thoughts on “miracles” here.]

[images: http://oplkids.wordpress.com/2011/04/]

Yoga for Moms

Screen Shot 2013-07-05 at 8.38.11 PMI mentioned before that my son can detect the presence of or intent to do yoga. He is psychic. But today, he was watching a video. I give him way too much TV when I want to selfishly mediate or practice yoga. It never works. Usually, he pounces quickly. “I’m hungry.” “I have to poop–wipe me,” or “Oh, I want to do yoga, too!” Disaster.

Today, I hit a record. He didn’t find me until minute twenty-seven of what I hoped would be an hour practice. Most often, he doesn’t ask me for something when he detects the presence of yoga, usually he just Screen Shot 2013-07-05 at 9.11.17 PMpounces. This often ends badly, as my body is not in  alignment to absorb impact. I’ve been injured. So, I’m forced to channel my inner ninja like Inspector Jacques Clouseau waiting for Kato. This, I fear, may not be entirely Ashtanga yoga. I think it’s a hybrid. Psychic Ashtanga? Maybe.

Moms don’t often get to practice real yoga. There’s no relaxation. No savasana at the end. No restoration of balance. I often jump off the mat mid sequence to drain noodles, enter a computer password, or attend to a crisis like, “I can’t find the black crayooonnnn.” 

I need a new style of yoga. I may have to experiment and develop a few styles. I know I’m a new yogini, but one of the things I’ve learned so far is that yoga must be flexible and personal. These styles will fit me better, and I’ll be able to finish my daily practice.  I’m proud to share these new types of “Yoga for Moms.”

Combat Yoga This style integrates all the benefits of yoga with the awareness of the martial arts. When I studied Japanese sword, one of the primary lessons was zazen, or awareness. I learned never to drop things like car keys because I’d get kicked in the face. “Ha, ha, ha… where’s your zazen?” Hilarious. Combat Yoga will give you the awareness you need in order to defend against small and midsized children and pets. 

Hidden Yoga Sometimes you can achieve better yoga practice if you are invisible. Hidden Yoga incorporates the invisibility of the ninja within your favorite Ashtanga practice. Hidden Yoga allows you to hide in plain sight, improving your practice as people walk right by you with their empty juice glasses, shoes needing tying, and other problems that can wait until after savasana is complete.

Yoga for Multitaskers will have positions like “folding towel” “wiping butt” and Pouring juice. The Primary Series will hereby be known as “Cleaning the House” with the Secondary Series being called “Cooking Dinner.” Yoga for Multitaskers allows you to achieve a full sixty to ninety minute practice uninterrupted while still completing your household duties.

Speed Yoga allows you to enjoy a full 90 minute class in 10 minutes flat. Inspired by New Yorkers, who do everything fast, Speed Yoga is the yogi’s 100 meter dash. You won’t even have to hide from your six year old who’s bothering you for candy. You’ll be done before he figures out you’ve started and remembers he should interrupt.

It is my hope that these new yoga styles will help improve your daily practice, because yoga is about more than fitness, it’s about sanity, which is something every mom needs. When I’m screaming “GET OFF ME!” or instantaneously rolling off of my yoga mat in self-defense, I am most decidedly not achieving fitness or inner peace, both of which I need to avoid imploding. Try one of these yoga styles today–it just might help you achieve enlightenment.


[images: universal studios, and http://blog.zestpropertygroup.co.za/top-10-home-showing-tips-part-2]


No, I Do Not Want To Play Zombie Brain Suckers–I’m Trying to Do Yoga

What happens when I find the yogi?

What happens when I find the yogi?

I’m up to my eyeballs in stress. So is everyone in the universe. It’s time for some yoga. I’m grateful that I’ve learned enough for a routine–it’s sort of like watching Cool Hand Luke but with fewer beatings…a chance to “get my mind right.”  Today, I am reminded that could do better in my yoga practice.

My friend is puts daily “yoga tips” on her LinkedIn and Facebook Pages. I appreciate the gentle reminder, “Are you going to do your yoga, or WHAT?” I have been trying, but I have a serious problem.

Yoga is impossible with kids and dogs. That’s why all the good yogis climb mountains to escape them.  The other day, I gave it the old college try. I had some music. I unrolled the mat when everyone in the house was busy doing their own thing, transfixed by screens or hobbies. But yoga is powerful–it calls out like “the force.”  Everyone knows the minute the yoga mat hits the floor, even if it is silent as a whisper. That, you see, is the perfect time to interrupt.

If I were a yogi on a mountain, no one could interrupt–it’s hard, far, and cold. That’s the idea. But they always find me.

“Mom, are you doing yoga again?” Declan was in the doorway. A nanosecond before he was three rooms away hypnotized by the computer.

“Yes, I’m doing yoga. Please go finish your show,” I entreated.

“Mom, yoga’s stupid. Let’s do karate. REAL karate, like Poe.” He followed this proclamation with two minutes of kung fu panda theatre, chopping at my knees. Finally, he left the room. I resumed.

“Mom, can you take apart these gears?” Standing on one foot, balancing in tree pose, I separated the gears.

“Mom, are you balancing?” I ignored him, focused only on my spot on the wall. “Mom!” He took just one little finger, touched it to my hip, and pushed. I tipped. “You’re not doing a good job.”

Remember my post about patience? Never to wish for it, because situations will appear that will require the practice of patience–usually very trying ones? The same is true for focus and inner peace.

The dog, not to be left out of the fun, joined. Soon, both boy and dog were lapping me in circles like a I was the center of a centrifuge.

“Mom yoga is very stupid and it makes me want to yell,” he announced.


“Because it’s stupid stuff.”

“Well, you’re going to be left behind on the road to enlightenment. Go watch your show.”

“You’re moving to Enlightenment?”

“No, it just comes.”

“When does it come?”

“In its own time. Go…watch…cartoons!”

Today, I figured I’d try again. Declan was safely installed in front of a screen rotting his brain cells. Poor parenting, good strategy. Poor parenting equals good yoga.

Secretly, I signed off of a chat, saying “I’m going to do yoga.” Then, quietly, I unrolled my mat. Yoga radar cannot be defeated by silence.

Woosh! “MOM! Are you doing YOGA?”


“Mom, do you want to play zombie brain suckers?”

Start the routine again. “Mom, I farted! Mom, I need a yoga hug. This is the yoga love position. Mom, let’s do dinosaur yoga. Mom, Mom. MOM!” I gave up. I laid down in savasana, the resting position, and tried to end my yoga right. Claudia said to do this to rest and avoid agitation. I was already agitated.

The boy left. Savasana isn’t very exciting. I relaxed. The yoga took over. Until… thump, thump, thump, POUNCE…a boy leapt through the air landing full-force on my abdomen. There is no contingency for this in yoga. I resorted to martial arts. A deflection.

I ended yoga beyond agitated, into the realm of angry and annoyed. Yoga isn’t supposed to annoy me. It’s supposed to bring me inner peace. I do not feel inner peace right now. I can only hope that if I keep getting disturbed and annoyed by this type of study that I will gain good karma and work toward inner peace, or that I will have an increasing tolerance for focus and patience in the end.

Otherwise, tomorrow, I’m going to start Googling famous yogis on mountains. I’m going to plug it into my GPS. Then I’m going to find a nice mountain, too.

[Image: AmazingSuperPowers.com ]

Good Yogi, Bad Yogi

I’m tying myself in knots again. It’s fun.

After my yoga retreat, I tried to practice yoga daily, then lost focus–I forgot the moves.  So, I started watching yoga videos. I started with Claudia’s video. Claudia gives such good instructions for beginners, and if anyone asks who my yoga instructor is, I will say “Claudia Altucher” because I really only took a couple yoga classes in person, and they were with Claudia. She wins by default. She may ask me to stop crediting her after doing quality control appraising my routines. I still feel my sun salutation caused all this snow. I need better technique. But I don’t think Claudia will disown me. She is kind–she is a good yogi.

Next, I moved on to some other videos. There are no shortage of people on YouTube wanting to show me stuff I can’t do. I watched this video, because I liked the rhythm. Esther is a good yogi, too. Then, I remembered Dashama Gordon, whose material I worked with on Learnist a couple months before I could spell “yoga” correctly. Now that I have approximately one month of yoga experience, making me nearly a beginner, I felt qualified to watch her again. I put her on my list–I’m making a collection of my favorite yoga videos as we speak. I’ll learn from all these yogis. Apparently you can do that in yoga.

Screen Shot 2013-02-10 at 1.30.44 PM

Good Yogi

I tried this series under the guidance of Dashama–“Yoga Balance Poses for Beginners.” I’m not really sure what a beginner is in yoga–I wouldn’t have suspected it was someone who could invert their body while twisting it in directions previously reserved only for NASA flight simulators, but she couldn’t reach through the computer and tell me not to try. In fairness, she did say, “You should consider stopping right there if you feel your spine.” My spine is fine. My balance and coordination are not. But she didn’t issue any prohibitions in those categories. I like the way Dashama makes me feel–her voice is soothing, and she makes me want to try stuff I know could easily drop me on my head.

But she’s beautiful and elegant and graceful. So I try anyway. She is a good yogi.

And you know what happens when you try your hardest–when you put your entire heart and soul into something, and really, truly, believe in yourself–believe you can accomplish anything?

Screen Shot 2013-02-10 at 1.25.15 PM

Bad Yogi

Well, you drop yourself on your head. Sometimes it’s good to be realistic, too. But the moral is that you get up and try it again. Or, realizing that trying the same thing several times and expecting different results is insanity, you try something a little more reasonable and do not get dropped on your head, reserving the head drop for another day, when maybe–just maybe–your soul is in better balance, and the universe decides to cooperate.

I’m not ready to call myself a yogi yet.  If I had to, I’d be the “bad yogi.”

Maybe not. I’m trying my hardest. Yoga seems to be about transformation from the inside out–about patience, love, and letting the inner light shine. That’s what I see in these “good yogis”–a glowing beauty that projects from the soul…light that is contagious, that makes me want to be a better human being.

If I’m trying all that, then perhaps I can, in honestly, say, “Good yogi.”




[images: tvtropes via Warner Bros, learni.st via prweb.com]