Thursday, September 23, 2010

Free from judgment.

I am taking a more present approach to life and I must say I like it.  I am learning to let go of fear and judgment and I think I like that even more!  I was at a guitar lesson a couple of weeks ago and I had a mini freak out.  I had been practicing every day in the privacy of my own living room.  I had not played in front of anyone yet and when my teacher and I sat down so I could play what I had been working on I froze.  I couldn't do it very well, or not as well as I had been.  I stuttered I stammered I fell over the notes and apologized saying "I haven't played in front of anyone before".  He said the most appropriate thing "I'm not here to judge you"!  With those simple words I was able to let go.  Smiling at fear and judgment and saying to myself right!  I'm not here to judge myself either.  I am here, in my lesson, in my life and in living my yoga, to learn.  After all if I were already an expert I wouldn't need to be here right! 

We often step on to the yoga mat and are trying to impress someone or do better than someone, sometimes that someone is ourselves.  Some people look at the cute girl or the hot guy or maybe our teacher and try to be perfect in a posture so it will impress them.  Or maybe thinking to ourselves, I could touch my head to my knees yesterday I should be able to do it today - watch me!  Our disappointment when the girl or the guy or our teacher doesn't notice.  As well the discouragement when today is different and we can barely reach our feet.  We do this on the mat and off.  Trying to impress someone or be better than them.  Judging others as better, equal or beneath.

I strive to let go of the judgment, be that on the mat, in my guitar playing, my cooking, my children, or walking down the street.  I am practicing being the witness.  Witnessing my breath, my movement, my feelings.  I am learning more about who I am and why I do things a certain way just by witnessing and observing.  The fear I felt when having to play what I had learned, I witnessed and observed - I needed and wanted to be perfect for my teacher.  Reality is, he doesn't care.  I am sure it is better for him to listen to pleasant music, that isn't broken up, off tune, or just really bad.  However he is there because people want to learn and he's a good teacher.  I am sure if he wanted to hear good music he would go to a concert, turn on his iPod or play it himself. 

Reminding my students and reminding myself that our yoga practice and our daily life can be free of judgment.  So what if the girl beside you can touch her head to the floor or the guy next to you has perfect posture.  If we leave our judgments at the door when we pracitce on the mat we can bring that freedom into our lives and into our world.

Thank you teacher for the lesson!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Back to school

Last week started a series of back to schools for my family.  My seven year old started grade two.  My five year old started a combination of kindergarten and home schooling.  I started taking guitar lessons again.

Grade two seems to be a bit of a mix of happy and sad for Liam.  He was so happy to see all his friends again and get back into a routine.  He has not been so happy about leaving home every morning to go there.  I think grade two must be a coming of age time for boys as well.  Liam is learning more and more about compromise with free play and his friends.  He is also learning the rewards of hard work both at school and at home.  He is starting to chose his friends more on commonalities, rather then just because our mom's are friends.  I am optimistic that this will be another good school year for Liam and that he will enjoy and absorb.  He is changing so much right before my eyes, I want to savor it all.

Reilly met his teacher and went to school one day this week.  He loved his one day but is still holding fast to only going "one, maybe two days a week".  This is fine with me.  We have established a home school program and system that is working really well for him.  He often goes on to do more than he has been asked to do and I am trying to give him the types of tasks that he enjoys.  I am learning more about my son than I ever had just by having him do simple learning at home with me.  We are spending time together.  Not always working together, as he is amazing independently, but we are side by side.  He is even teaching his little sister a few things.  I am proud of myself for holding my ground and putting his wishes first.  He knows himself what he needs and wants more than anyone.

Holly is noticing that her brothers are busy and doing different things.  She is wanting to go on the bus in the morning with Liam and asking to go to school.  I am going to start a more structured schedule for her and I during the day as well so that she doesn't miss her brothers so much.

As the boys have started their school work I am again taking guitar lessons.  My mother bought me a guitar when I turned 16 and I never really learned to play it.  I learned chords and scales and that was about it.  To my own disappointment I never took the opportunity to learn from an ex boyfriend who played all the time.  In the past few months I have been practicing chords and strumming but finally decided to take actual lessons.  I love it!  My teacher is amazing and I learned more from him in one lesson then I ever have.  In the afternoon I practice and whenever I get a free moment.  I practice as much as I can in front of the children as well.  Watching a parent learn something is important for kids I think.  I hope that they can see me learning something new and realize that you are never too old and that we are constantly learning and taking things in.

I am amazed at how much learning the guitar is similar to my yoga practice.  I need to listen to my body.  Take rests when needed.  Breathe, and stay in the moment.  If I make a mistake I need to be present, let it go and move on.  Not be attached to the mistake but look forward to what is next.  The biggest thing for me is the practice.  I have worked it into my evening routine of yoga, pranayam, meditation, some more gentle postures, and then I practice the guitar.  I am so enjoying this time in the evening and my sleep is even improving.

Reilly and Liam are both talking about taking music lessons as well which is great!  I had Reilly in the music store the other day picking up some new guitar picks and he was asking to buy a guitar or a set of drums.  Friends of ours have a piano and Liam has shown some amazing ability and interest in that.  Perhaps the three of us can start a band....

Enjoy the sweet sounds of music,

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Yoga and Meditation

Lately I have been doing a lot of reading about  meditation.  I have been to retreats and loved the group meditations and the quiet meditations I can experience on my own.  I am often up at 5 - 5:30 on a retreat while everyone sleeps so I can sit in silence, something I can't do at home with my three children.  Recently I attended a yoga and meditation class.  I do have a regular mediation practice, although not as regular as I would like.  It was so nice to sit and feel the meditative energy of other people.  If you are a regular meditator or have not done it before it is something I recommend.

Meditation is an integral part to a complete yoga practice.  Almost like breakfast being the most important meal of the day.  So many people come to yoga practice and they only do postures and forget the rest of it.  Yoga has so many limbs - 8 in fact.  Meditation being such an important piece of the pie.  For those who already "do it", they would recognize when they are sitting and when they are meditating.  If meditating you will lose your senses, forget what happened.  My favorite part of the meditation practice is when the bell rings and I realize that I was gone...  Fully aware but gone. 

One of my first real meditative experiences was when I was preparing for the birth of my second child.  I had planned a home birth and wanted the best thing I could do.  I already had a regular and strong yoga practice and in fact continued teaching until a few weeks before the birth.  I felt I needed and wanted a bit more.  I started practicing hypnobirthing.  I had read about it and until the practice took affect I did not realize that it was deep meditation.  When it was time for birth I practiced my mediation and did some postures.  The birth was amazing and almost pain free. 

When I sit now and meditate and it doesn't feel like it is working.  I remind myself to be present.  To listen to my breath.  To not worry too much about where my mind is wandering.  I don't try to ignore the itch that happens first on my shoulder, then my leg and then my back.  I know that my body does this every time and if I give it time the itches will go away and my mind will settle.  It will settle just as it did when I gave birth, just as it always does. 

Sometimes it doesn't work right away.  This is why they call it a practice.  I have learned to sit with it.  I have worked out so many problems this way.  I know if it really is a problem or just drama I have created just by sitting with it.  Sometimes the solution comes, sometimes I need to sit with it some more.

Sit with it and be present.

Hari Om,