Thursday, September 13, 2012

Feeling Light and Being Right

EDIT: this is an old post, so here are some updates: I'm teaching aerial yoga every Thursday (6-7pm at Loom Yoga in Bushwick), and Saturday (2-3:15pm at Jivamukti in Jersey City). Also, the book in question, Cook Yourself Sexy, is out, along with two more Candice Kumai masterpieces, and another on the way!

Sorry for the last blog post!  I spent yesterday working with the lovely Candice Kumai (and enjoying tasty treats, might I add!).  I'm not allowed to share a whole lot with you, but I can confirm that her latest cookbook, debuting in less than a month, is fabulous, and you'll likely want to add it to your collection.

On Tuesday, I took my first aerial yoga class with Seanna Sharp at the Om Factory.  As both a yoga instructor, and an aerial addict (if you're in NYC come see my latest performance!!), I thought I'd be old hat at this stuff.  But truly, when you put the two together, you get a hybrid substantially different from either of its parents.  I know how to do aerial, and I know how to do yoga.  I had trouble standing on a swing in tadasana, instead of swinging on a swing, or standing on the ground.  I had to disable certain automatic neural pathways in my brain, which made for a very fruitful practice.

It's almost always better to go into a new experience assuming you know nothing about it, than trying to pretend you know it all.  You don't want to look totally incompetent, but you want your brain to understand that this is learning time, not running automatic programs time.

Buddhists say it like this: "In the beginner's mind, there are many possibilities.  In the expert's mind, there are few."

It's true, isn't it?  Once you know 'the right way' to do something, that's the only way your brain wants to do it.  It takes work to forge new connections.  And ok, our socks do have to come before our shoes, and personally, I feel that the cereal has to come before the milk, but there are plenty of areas where we could cultivate some space for surprising options.

A fantastic place for that is in our relationships.  We see it with other couples all the time: from the outside, it's easy to see the destructive patterns, how both parties are responding badly, sending things into a deadly spiral.  From the inside, it's not so easy to thwart that programming.  And it can be really difficult to decide to be the one to do that work.  Why should it be you?  Why can't your partner be the one to stop saying things that piss you off?

There's no good reason why your partner can't do that; he or she certainly could if he or she wanted to, but that's the wrong question.  Why can't you?  Would you rather be happy, or right?

If you're fully present during a discussion, you'll witness these patterns playing out, and you'll have the beautiful opportunity to derail them, to make choices, to act, instead of react.  And guess what, guys: meditation teaches you to be fully present to the moment!

The husband has so had it with the way yoga is the answer for everything.  "Yoga is magic!  Here comes Super Yoga to save the day!"  Ok, full disclosure:  Sigh.  Yoga isn't the only way to cultivate mental space and find your way toward inner peace.  But it is an awesomely accesible one!  And most of them do involve meditation, so you should go ahead and make your peace with that.

Fantastic insights aside, what was aerial yoga like?  Well, tree pose with the aid of a loop around my thigh helping to provide stability was fantastic.  I've never successfully done Dancing Shiva before in my life.  I was frustrated by supported downward dog, because the loop slung around my pelvic points was lifting me up so much, I could barely keep my toes on the ground, but I wouldn't have taken the loop off for all the world!  Toes on the ground or not, DownDog with little to no weight in your arms?  Priceless.

Because of the different ways we used the aerial swing, and the different orientations that called for, there wasn't as much continuous flowing as there is in a more typical Vinyasa class, but taking that into account, there was a lot, actually, and there was time to experiment and play with the aerial swing, which everybody appreciated.  Probably the best part was Savasana all wrapped up in our silk cocoons...
It wasn't long enough for me, but you guys know by now, I'm a Savasana fanatic!  I'm definitely checking out an Aerial Om class, which features a loooong guided meditation.  Yay!

Just to take things full circle, I'll finish up with a link to one of Candice's amazing recipes: Pumpkin Spice Cake.  Nom.

Live Omily,
~em

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