optimal enchantment

April 25, 2010

it’s been a tough week. i’ve been living in this very emotional and stagnant place for too long. this past weekend i hit the wall with my thoughts. we really can become prisoners of our own minds. the cycle of repetitive thoughts, thinking about tomorrow instead of today and projecting fears onto ourselves. worst of all, this stagnant crust begins to grow and it  paralyzes us from being positive. i knew what i had to do. i had to seek optimal enchantment.

optimal enchantment can be found in a room on the second floor of a building on santa monica blvd in santa monica. i call it optimal enchantment because of the sign that says that inside of the building. i think that is what it says. regardless, it is what i wanted it to say in that moment. the real name of this place is santa monica power yoga. about ten years ago i stepped foot into this space nervously. what the hell was my friend making me do?

smpy has a lot of lovers and a lot of haters. people love it or hate it. for me, brian kest changed my life. he was my first yoga teacher. smpy is his donation based studio. when i started there, they had one location. a weird room upstairs that always had a crazy line around the corner for yoga. it’s a smelly room with no frills. its kinda what i love about it. some people don’t like the crowded room but i feed off it. the energy of people coming together to level out. there is nothing like it. some people don’t like his teaching style because it’s so physical. i argue what starts out as physical seamlessly evolves into a mind and body practice.

when i first started doing yoga, i was in a job i hated and had a lot of personal anger towards the world. i’m the shy and quiet type but my anger had just kept growing over the years. it was this cycle of anger and anxiety that found me in my first downward dog. when i first entered into my practice i wasn’t sure what was going on and didn’t totally know how to listen to my body. all i knew was that i was working some shit out. i noticed that i was calmer at work and my body didn’t hurt when i was on my feet all day. i actually even took up running for a while because i learned how to breathe.

i was lucky, my back corner spot was open. it was like no time had passed. my heart instantly began to feel full and we hadn’t even started class yet. it was a nice reminder that making the extra effort to level out and find balance is always worth it. i wasn’t even upset that brian wasn’t there to teach. travis took his place and i welcomed it. it was hard to remember to listen to my body until i tried to lift one leg in the air and realized i had a muscle pain in my leg. the kind that could rip if not listened to. this was a reminder of how important it is to move our bodies daily. that emotional and stagnant feeling builds up in our muscles when we stop caring for our bodies.

i stand on my feet all day on concrete floors, half hunched over teaching children or cleaning up their art messes. my muscles begin to forget that they need opening up. that crusty layer of ick began to peel itself off as soon as i entered into my first child’s pose. it was amazing. i left class and i felt like i reset my mind. i felt like i connected with that moment after my very first class,10 years ago, when i emerged from this room and everything was crisp. leaves on every tree were vivid and alive. i felt open and ready to heal. next time i feel like fear, anxiety and my own thoughts are cocooning  around me, i will remember to seek optimal enchantment in that special little hidden stinky room above the radio shack on santa monica blvd. namaste.

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Back on the Mat

August 14, 2008

i walked in the room after months of being away. comfort settled in immediately. i felt like  i was home. my own home doesn’t always give me comfort the way this room does. i took my shoes off stretched out toes and let my feet breathe after a day of standing  on them at work. i took a deep breath, found a quiet back row corner and rolled out my mat.

the hardest part was over. i got myself there. for me, that is the hardest part. it is so easy to make excuses for not having a daily practice. too tired, too busy, too happy, too sad, hungry, full, sick, too tired, too injured…the list is easy to lengthen. usually, if its been over four months without attending my favorite yoga classes i know i am in trouble. i know i am in danger of losing my practice to the elements.  returning to the mat is harder on me emotionally than physically. I have a strong connection to my practice. in short, it is very personal.

the moment that i roll out that mat everything comes back. my sense of calm, my integrity, my passions and my gentleness take over. i become more open and connected to everything around me. i try to explain that feeling to friends who’ve never been to yoga. every class is like coming home. it’s something that does not translate unless it’s a shared experience.

i have always said that I am closer and more open with my friends who have a practice. i guess it is because we are able to share thoughts about our practice. it is such a personal experience  to share insights about breakthroughs, fears, feelings and healing with others. it’s so private and emotional to share these moments with supportive people.

all this comes back when you get back on the mat. when i saw the long dreads that my favorite teacher was now sporting, I realized how much time had gone by. we chanted and entered into our slow and deep hatha practice. i could feel the back of my legs waking up and energy moving into areas that had been stagnant for months.  we had some independent flow time and some freestyle cool down time. before i knew it and hour and a half had passed.

i rolled up my mat feeling renewed, emotional and committed.  all i could think was “i am yoga” .  i think it was my new mantra. we are all victim to saying things to ourselves like ” i wish.. i hope.”  how about “i am”. i am happy. i am creative. i am love. i am freedom.

i can’t wait to go to later this week.