Stay Curious

I repeat myself in class, constantly. I have no idea whether or not this bores my students, as no one has told me so. Incidentally, no one has told me that my class keeps them on the edge of their mat, either. Can you guess that the title of this piece is something I say over and over again?

“Stay curious!”

At home, I reply to my children’s complaints of feeling stranded in a sea of boredom with, “You’re bored? Wonderful! It’s great to be bored! It allows you to do so many wonderful things like think, and imagine, and not think, and pretend, and do nothing!”

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Bent leg Uttanasana (Forward Fold) with blocks for support.

Staying curious on our yoga mat is a beautiful way to access our muscles, to listen to our bodies through the language of sensation.  Consider what it would be like to twist away from the bent/front leg rather than toward it.  Try exhaling in cow pose and inhaling in cat pose.  Staying curious is also a sweet way to access the muscles we use to suspend judgement, the muscles of gentleness, kindness, patience, and benevolence.  Consider what it would be like to laugh when you fall out of Twisting Half Moon Pose (Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana), or out of Side Angle Pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana) for that matter(!)  Try waiting for the pose to unfold and open the body in its own time, and feel what that’s like to feel that.

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Moving into Virabhdrasana III (Warrior Pose III) with blocks for support.

Off the mat, we might stay curious about our reactions to our circumstances, such as the way we bristle at a friend’s comment, or realize our vanity is alive and well when we wish someone hadn’t posted a specific picture of us on social media.  Additionally, we can try out really listening to the person who is talking to us, being attentive to what they are saying without thinking about our own next word, sentence, or thought.  We can be curious about responses we label as negative, and we might learn something new about ourselves.  Conversely, when we look closely at things we categorize as positive, at what brings us joy, we might end up finding more of it.

This kind of curiosity has the capacity to bring us into new experiences of ourselves, and new wisdom, and I’m all for that.

May you be blessed with enough in all things.

Happy Gaudete week, Happy Rejoicing, Happy Practicing!

The Catholic Yogi

Expectations and Abundance

Happy July, Friends.

Just a reminder that there are no yoga classes scheduled for July.  Instead, look for times throughout your days and weeks when you can savor a practice of postures, breath work, mindfulness, and relaxation.  Maybe you won’t find time for all of these at once, but perhaps some combination of these practices, or even just one.  A yoga practice all your own could even emerge from an effort to be curious about how yoga can be folded into your daily life.

I’m planning to be spontaneous with my yoga practice and go with the flow of my family’s mid-summer rhythm, which isn’t very clear.  It might mean I’ll practice at dawn or at mid-day nap time, in the evening, or after everyone’s tucked into bed.  Most likely, I’ll practice in the midst of some beautiful chaos.  And surely there will be days in which I don’t have a formal practice at all.

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I’ve recently enjoyed a 30-day meditation immersion and plan to keep on meditating, in one way or another, forever.  Because of this I’m taking some of the lovely lessons I’ve learned into the future and am currently practicing not allowing “the ‘perfect’ to be the enemy of the good.”  I’m also just off a week of exchanging gratitude emails with a friend, which has been enlightening.  I’ve realized that at times I compare myself to others and can become negative and self-pitying.  Also, when I harbor a sense of lack, whether in reference to things, money, or time, I tend to function from a state of frantic grasping.  However, in times when I focus on the good, the here and now, the wealth of joys at my fingertips, I am awash with restfulness and ease.

So, I declare July to be the month of letting go of expectations and the month of embracing abundance.  Care to join me?  Write me an email and let me know.

Happy Practicing!

The Catholic Yogi

amysecrist6@gmail.com