Note: I wrote this (but forgot to post) a day before Harvey hit, when many of us thought this would be just another hurricane scare with a little extra rain to contend with. When our biggest concern was getting the kids back to school and leaving summer behind. Things have changed more than I could have imagined in a week and half. As our city emerges from the wreckage and lives up to its hashtag #HoustonStrong, I decided to post this anyway, because in this space, more than ever, we need reminders to connect our body and our breath and to absorb the lessons learned when we do.
The open-endedness of summer is glorious, no doubt, but the predicability of fall brings its own pleasures. As we approach Labor Day and bid adieu to lazy days, I urge you to sink into its rhythm. If you are sending kids back to school—whether pre-K or college—you have likely spent the last few weeks totally focused on launching your offspring into their new worlds. Upon returning from my summer travels, I dove straight into uniform orders, dorm room shopping and a never-ending parade of school forms. I shopped for supplies and calendared school events. I arrived back in Houston physically two weeks ago, but not until I hit my yoga mat yesterday was I really home.
As soon as I started synching my breath to my body, I realized how out-of-synch I'd been. I'd been operating completely in the head space of getting things done. In Ayurvedic terms, my Vata was leading the way, keeping me operating in the intellectual ether, completely ungrounded and untethered to the wisdom of the body.
My yoga practice always returns me to this balance, but how easily I forget, swimming in thought for way too long before I reach for it!
Happily for me, yesterday's practice involved some linguistic learning that fed my word nerd side. I firmly believe in the power of words to transform us. My teacher, Ann Hyde, unpacked some common terms and illuminated how easily they are misinterpreted, even when spoken silently to ourselves. First, intensity needn't make us tense. Instead of seeking the "intense" perhaps we should focus on the "intent." They don't sound so different to our ears, but they do to our souls.
And, likewise, "relaxing" doesn't entail being "lax." We can hold our intention AND relax. Relaxing can increase productivity, rather than reducing it.