August 2008


So when you take a 3 and a 4 year old to the pool and discover they can swim happily until their entire body is prune-like you start to get creative like, hmmm how many yoga poses can I do in the pool without drowning? 

Yoga in the water is great.  Taking away that pesky element of gravity really changes things.  I love stretching out in a hot bath in the winter, so it seems reasonable to move on to bigger bodies of water.  I was in a pool that has variable depths - here’s what I discovered works well in knee to thigh deep water:

- Upside Down Bow Pose – I think technically upside down Bow Pose is Wheel, but I really do mean Bow Pose.  To avoid the drowning thing, your face is out of the water, kneeling on the bottom, hands holding feet or ankles.  Press your chest and hips forward, take a couple of deep breaths and then for the final act, dip your head back into the water to get the full expression of the pose through your upper back. 

- Wide Leg Forward Bend Two Ways – I feel like I can get my feet wider than I can outside the pool.  Thanks to that and the bouancy thing I found you can go from seated to standing and back again.   I started in a seated position and pointed my toes straight up and rolled my thighs open to maximize the stretch.  Then to move to the other pose, I spread my arms in front and wooshed them along my sides to come to standing.  I kept a long back with my hands under my face, arms straight.  I held for a couple breaths and then slowly sat back down again.  The cool thing about going back and forth in the water is you can really feel which muscles on the inside of your thighs need it the most. 

- Hip Stretch – This hip stretch is easier to do in the water than out.  Sitting down, bend your right knee and bring the inside of your lower leg toward your chest.  You can also rest the outside of your right ankle on your opposite thigh and bend your left knee more to increase the stretch.  You’re going for a Pigeon pose-like stretch, feeling it in the outside of your right hip.

I found that chest-deep water is a great place to play with headstands.  I put my head on the bottom of the pool and found that using straight arms, hands on the bottom in front of me gave me the best balance.  Then if I felt my legs dropping behind, I could push with my arms and do a fun flip back into the water. 

Of course once the kids noticed they said, “do the flip thing again!” and I had to do it a dozen more times for them.  (Sigh), all in a day’s work for a water-logged yogi.

 

This came through on my yoga teachers mailing list this a.m. and it’s got my name on it.  I never thought of myself as patient, sometimes I’ve gotten my way by sheer force of will.  But I’ve finally clued in to the fact that that’s not always ideal.  And sometimes my sheer force of will isn’t enough anyways.  You can’t stop a river with your thumb so you might as well watch it flow until things fall into place.

Do you have the patience to wait
till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
till the right action arises by itself?

The Master doesn’t seek fulfillment.
Not seeking, not expecting,
she is present, and can welcome all things.

Lao Tzu

Ok the recipe is really called “Naked Burrito” but at our house it’s lovingly called “Slop”.  It’s basically all the guts of any tasty self-respecting mexican meal that normally gets rolled up in a tortilla except here it’s bbq’d in a pan and you shovel it in with nacho chips.  It’s awesome. Here’s how it goes:

Take one of those lasagna foil pans.  Heat up the bbq to Medium.  In the pan throw a 19 oz can or rinsed black or kidney beans, with 1/2 cup of your favourite bbq sauce (PC Smokin’ Stampede Beer & Chipotle being the obvious choice here), a chopped up green pepper, 1/2 a chopped onion and 1/2 cup of chili sauce (if you like it hot) or ketchup (if you don’t) and mix it all up.  Throw it on the bbq, cover loosely with foil and let it cook for 20 minutes, mixing every once in a while between sips of beer. 

Then chop up 2 TBs of fresh cilantro, add it and 2 TBs of lime juice to 2 cups of cooked rice.  Sprinkle the rice mixture on top of the slop and then sprinkle it all with a cup of grated cheddar cheese.  Let it cook for another 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.  Then top it all off with 1/2 c of sour cream and 1/4 c of chopped green onions.

Throw the pan on the table with a bowl of your favourite nacho chips (Que Pasa are my faves because they’re a little lighter and the slop is *filling*).  Use the chips for shovelling.  Make sure everyone has a chilly beverage.  This serves a party as an appetizer or 4 people as a main course.

 

Mom didn’t read Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are” to us because she thought the monsters might be scary and she was probably right.   But it’s in regular rotation for reading time with Angus.  I just love it, probably more than him, thanks to the monsters.  I love the language and that one “in and out of weeks” bit that goes on forever because I respect the run-on sentence and I too sometimes lose the period on the keyboard. 

Also, because I think it’s a great book about holding onto your power.  There’s that part where Max has had a blast with the Wild Things.  They’ve swung through trees and howled at the moon and done all the things that you do when you’re wild and then he decides it’s time to go. 

And the Wild Things say, “Please don’t go!  We’ll eat you up we love you so!” and Max said, “No”. 

I’ve been talking about the just saying “no” part with a friend who’s having some issues with her friends.  Like saying “no” even if it means being willing to let go of the friendship because you don’t know how the person will react. 

Or even when you think, “heck I could just keep my mouth shut and ignore this *again*”.  But there’s a part of you like Max that just puts up your hand and says, “nuh-uh, I’m so done”.  

Max has got it down.  He doesn’t talk about his feelings, or justify his no because he’s not convinced himself or go on and on about the pain of his childhood.  He just says “no” and gets in his boat.  Because at some point it’s just time to go.  It’s time to eat dinner.  And when you do the right thing like that for yourself, you know dinner will always be hot. 

 

 

Make lists of positive aspects. Make lists of things you love—and never complain about anything. And as you use those things that shine bright and make you feel good as your excuse to give your attention and be who-you-are, you will tune to who-you-are, and the whole world will begin to transform before your eyes. It is not your job to transform the world for others—but it is your job to transform it for you.

Abraham-Hicks

 

I was googling something and tripped over Judith Lasater’s website.  I love the bit in her sidebar where she talks about making peace with the present moment by holding back from judging her thoughts and feelings. 

We’re talking about the negative judgements of course.  I can’t think of too many days where I think, wow I really groove on feeling anxious like this.  Or, man, this soul-sucking loneliness really rocks.  It must be building character! 

The negative judgements are an issue because they pile onto the first lousy thought or feeling you had and then before you know it, there’s a festival of ickiness swimming around in your head.  And then you have even more to resist and feel lousy about.

Judith’s strategy is to remind herself she’s human:

….when thoughts arise followed by thoughts of judgment I tell myself…. “how human of me to have a thought of X”.  This helps so much when I look at the behaviour of others as well.

When I say silently to myself, “How human of him to act/react with anger or fear or disappointment” then there is a space for compassion to arise in me. And I like how that feels. Then I am at peace with the present moment. 

I have been using this.  A buddy of mine is going through a divorce and some days I’m convinced that it’s just as hard for the people in their circle as it is for them, although I’m sure they wouldn’t agree and that’s totally fair. 

Why is it we want the people we love to be extra good to each other during a break-up when they weren’t good enough together to want to stay together anymore?  Why is it we want to believe that people find their one soul mate and stay with them forever, even though relationships and people prove to be a lot more fluid than that?  I’ve seen people get really upset when people break-up or have affairs and it’s not because they’ve never heard of it happening before.  But it’s like someone is ripping down their belief systems thread by thread.  Or maybe it’s because when it happens close to home it’s proof it could happen to them too. I dunno. Some days I think we should all be grateful our relationships survive as long as they do.  We’re so damn human. And when I ask myself these questions I catch myself.  I catch myself wishing things were different for my friends and I say to myself, “how human of me to care about them and wish things were better for them.”  And when I talk to someone who loves them and hear about their frustration I think, “how human of her to wish this was less painful for herself and everyone else.”   And then I think, “how human of me to hope that it will be better soon.”