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The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Happy Tappy Yoga

I have been a yoga student since 2004, enjoying my time both on and off the mat. I have referred to it as my magic carpet that takes me on all sorts of adventures. Here in Jamaica, I left my own purple mat at home and used one from the yoga room in the resort where was I am staying. I was gifted this trip by my friend Ambika Devi who is teaching yoga here. A longtime instructor and yogic scholar, she offers her own version of the ancient practice, meant to bring peace to body, mind and spirit.

I had made a special request to have her focus on hip opening asanas ( the postures and poses that most are familiar with when you say the word yoga) since mine were feeling like they would benefit from more than a few drops of the contents of the Tin Man’s oil can.

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Ambika’s  style was playful and lighthearted, not intense or regimented, and always with an eye t0ward comfort. She blended yoga and meditation theory into the class, as if she was mixing up a luscious velvety cake batter.  At one point she asked us to tap on various parts of our bodies and smile as we did so. I felt like a human percussion instrument, rhythmically relating  as she told us a story about a tantric priest named Krishna who taught at the Sivananda Ashram in the Bahamas. He had his students engage in that practice. When a too sophisticated for her stretchy pants student snidely asked why he was having them do that, his delightful response was “To make happy.” This said with an impish smile.

As Ambika said those words, my first thought was “Oh, happy tappy yoga.” My second thought was “Happy tapioca.” Sweet comfort food, deeply nourishing and soul satisfying. So it is for this blissful yogini.

Ambika closed the session with the sacred Hindu Chant Mahamrutyunjay Mantra

By the end of the class, both my hips and heart were wide open.

 

 

 

 

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In Vacay Mode

 

Sitting in a cool and comfy lounge in the Montego Bay Airport while waiting for my friend Ambika to arrive. Back in June, she made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, which was a week in Negril, Jamaica at an all inclusive resort. She is a fabulous writer and teacher who travels the world and offers the wisdom she has gleaned over the years.  She will be teaching yoga classes that I will be taking. Imagine, yogaaaaahhhh in Paradise.

This is the first major out of the country vacation I have taken in 20 years or so. The biggest stretch (as much I will be doing on the mat)  was taking time off of work. My supervisor insisted, despite my intention to write articles for my full time job while lounging by the pool. Instead, I will just lounge by the pool. Imagine that~

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For someone who has been addicted to work,  this is quite a big deal. Initially, there was a panicked thought, “Uh oh, who will I be if I’m not being productive?” I guess I will find out.

I have learned to be a well planned out traveler who has her ducks in a row, so that I can leave room for potentially unexpected events. I packed and put everything where I can easily access it. I always pack light, since I do carry on. I learned my lesson when on several occasions, my luggage took separate vacations when I checked them. Stayed over at the airport so I could just zip right over on the shuttle. Slept lightly, checking the clock every few hours, to be sure I didn’t miss the alarm and have to swim to Jamaica.

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Made it in plenty of time and swept on through TSA ….. except that they found contraband …. they confiscated my sun screen since the bottle was too big. Good thing it was the cheap stuff. I’m sure I’ll find something here. Minor inconvenience. I am learning not to sweat the small stuff. I am feeling blessed to be in rest and re-create mode.

Who knows what delights await?  New friends, adventures, basking in the sun, splashing in the crystal clear ocean, walking on the beach, time to get to know my friend better. I’m sure that there is even a hammock with my name on it.

I’m equally sure that the woman who will be winging homeward in a week will be worlds away from the one who is typing these words.

Let the vacay begin!

 

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Do It Now

“One day you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you have always wanted. DO IT NOW!”- Paulo Coehlo

This meme greeted me this morning and sent a resounding YES! through my sleepy self. Even though I lay my head on the pillow a scant 6 or so hours ago and would love to have slept a solid 7-8, I felt called to awaken. The sun is streaming in the bedroom window, tunes on WXPN delight my ears and my brain and fingers were called to write.

I am running through my mind the things I need to do in preparation for a much anticipated vacation in Jamaica that begins on Sunday. Article deadlines, packing, pedi for my paint peeling toes, making sure I have taken care of biz here at home, a meeting and sadly, a memorial service.

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That last one echoes with the sentiment in the quote that opened the blog entry. This was a young woman whose life ended in a motor vehicle accident and whose adorable six year old sun survived. See, we never know when we begin the day how we will end it. I learned that with the deaths of my husband and parents, with my own health challenges over the past year and a half and those of others in my circles. As a result, I have been doing things I would not have done a few years back. Naps, speaking my mind, setting boundaries, treating myself well, taking emotional risks that would have been intimidating previously.

I have been whittling down items on my bucket list; travel among them. In the past few months, I have been to New Orleans, Calistoga, Hilton Head and New York City. Following the heart attack a year ago, I feared leaving my adapted routine, since it felt like a cocoon I had wrapped around me. Now, I just pack and go. I have become quite portable.

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When the invitation came via my friend Ambika Devi to join her as her guest at an all inclusive resort, I jumped at the chance. How blessed and loved I felt. The last time I was in Negril was for my honeymoon 28 years ago.  How things (and I) have changed. My intention is to rest and re-create by swimming, walking, dancing, reading, singing and taking yoga classes that my friend is teaching. I see some hammock lounging in my immediate future, napping in the tropical breezes and just BE-ing. What a joy that will bring. I will be taking time to get to know the woman in the mirror.

Looking forward to seeing who I will be when I return.

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Shining Star Syndrome

This past week, I had the opportunity to encounter a persona who developed in childhood. I call her ‘the shining star’. She loved, loved, loved being in the spotlight, partly since she was so much of the time. Adults used the word ‘precocious’ to describe her. In many ways, she felt she needed to be a miniature adult to meet expectations that were not actually stated, but assumed. She didn’t feel she had to earn approval. She just didn’t want to lose it.

She peeked her head around the corner as I had two experiences that called her to action. The first was when an article I had sent in for another publication got returned for major editing. Ooopps. That throwback part of myself felt as if she herself had gotten thrown back and smacked down, even though the editor made specific suggestions for change and was perfectly professional about it. The second was when a colleague had sent me an email asking a question about a specific dynamic that occurs in the addiction field. Reading the message too quickly, I thought she was suggesting that I write an article about it and I responded as if that was the case. It turns out that she was just wanted my input so she could write the article. My immediate reaction was that I had made an assumption and stepped on her toes as a result. Gulp. I felt like I had developed a case of ‘center-of-the-universe-I-tis,’ and that it was all about me. I immediately emailed her back and apologized for my error. Her laughing return message told me that she wasn’t offended and didn’t want to put to much on my plate!

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Later that day, I called two trusted advisors and did what I call a ‘sanity check, ‘questioning my perception of each of these scenarios. Both assured me that I was quite sane… good to know. The other bits of feedback had to do with my need to be the shining star, the go to person, the one with all the answers whose plate can be filled to overflowing with responsibilities to prove that I could carry it without dropping it all and having a big mess clatter to and splatter on the floor. The secondary aspect is my fear of disappointing and letting people down. That related more to the initial encounter. Lastly, what came up was the need to sloooow down my thoughts, speech and actions so that I don’t miss valuable communication. I read recently a word that resonated:  ‘rushaholism,’ which indicates an addiction to zooming about. Even as I have slowed my pace since the heart attack a year ago, I still notice a tendency to move at such a pace that I create a whirlwind around me. I become impatient when my fingers can’t keep up with my thoughts as I type articles. That mood doesn’t lend itself to creativity.

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I have also notice a tendency to want to finish what I am doing so I can move on to the next thing, rather than engage fully in the task before me. I miss out on so much by doing that.

As I am preparing for a much needed vacation in Jamaica next week, I am gearing down rather than up. I am learning that I was born a shining star with no need to prove it.

 

 

 

 

 

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