I swear I’m going to start doing yoga again. Nap time would be ideal, but that’s when I write. And yoga-with-toddler means I transform into a human jungle gym.

I’ve tried many different yoga routines and DVDs over the years, and I’ve practiced at various centers and studios. But my favorite, the one that dwells in my muscle memory, is Yoga Mind & Body, featuring the lovely Ali McGraw and guided by yoga master Erich Schiffman. It’s been uploaded to YouTube if you want to check it out.

I love everything about Yoga Mind & Body: the series of poses and overall flow, the setting (I’m pretty sure it’s filmed at White Sands, New Mexico), Schiffman’s melodic voice, and the music. After completing the routine, you feel like you’re floating. It’s also where I learned ujjayi breathing, which I return whenever I’m searching for my center.

Once upon a time it was a dusty VHS tape at my mom’s house that I discovered during the summer of ’96, the summer I had mono and slept on the couch, didn’t eat for two months, and watched Mrs. Doubtfire five hundred times in sporadic moments of consciousness. To rebuild my strength, I practiced the yoga routine every day, sometimes twice a day, and I fell in love with how it made me feel both while I was performing the poses and afterward. It seems even more important to practice it now.

Anyone else out there with a favorite yoga routine and/or guide?

(Post 239 of 365)


Yoga and Poetry

photo source

I’ve been waking up grumpy. Almost like a teenager. Like, pleeeeeease just five more minutes.

After two years of sleep deprivation, we are finally sleeping through the night. I should be rising with the smile of the well-rested. But every morning at 4 or 4:30 or 4:45, my toddler leaves her bed and crawls into ours. Sometimes she settles down, but most times she tosses and turns, thrashing her body against mine. She will say, “I love you so much!” and “Remember, we go party yesterday?” Because apparently every day is a party.

My friend Rachel wrote about her morning yoga routine with her little ones and it got me thinking. I have to turn this around. What if we started each morning with five sun salutations? What if we woke each day and recited this Mary Oliver poem like a prayer?

We practiced this afternoon. Hands together, namaste. Arms stretching way up. Bending forward to touch our toes. When I moved into other poses, like cobra and downward-facing dog, she started to climb my body. But a few sun salutations… I think we can do it. Tomorrow morning, we start anew.

(Post 224 of 365)

Why I Wake Early

-Mary Oliver

Hello, sun in my face.

Hello, you who make the morning

and spread it over the fields

and into the faces of the tulips

and the nodding morning glories,

and into the windows of, even, the

miserable and crotchety—

best preacher that ever was,

dear star, that just happens

to be where you are in the universe

to keep us from ever-darkness,

to ease us with warm touching,

to hold us in the great hands of light—

good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, now, how I start the day

in happiness, in kindness.