To Fly or Not To Fly

To Fly or Not to Fly

To fly or not to fly that is the question.  For the 2nd Saturday in a row, thank you hockey schedule, I was able to take my circuit burn class followed by aerial yoga this morning.  This was my 3rd aerial yoga class. One of the questions, I’ve been asked most often since starting aerial yoga is which practice do I prefer.  Do I prefer aerial or vinyasa?

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The answer isn’t so easy because both the aerial and vinyasa practices feed each other.  There are aspects of aerial yoga that will translate into a better practice on the mat.  For example, the inversions in aerial yoga are much easier because the swing supports you and provides balance.  Consequently, since the inversions are aided in a sense, it allows you to work on strength and alignment.   As an added bonus, you can hold the pose for a significantly longer time.  I guess the answer is that I prefer both.

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Aerial yoga takes a significant amount of trust and letting go of fear.  You have to trust yourself and the swing knowing that it will prevent you from falling and hurting yourself.  Moreover, you have to let go of fear.  Admittedly, the first aerial yoga class I took was intimidating.  My teacher Monica, who is incredible, encouraged all of us to let go of our fear.  Additionally, she also showed us how to position our bodies to prevent a fall and assisted us with the poses.  As a consequence, I felt comfortable in the fabric by the end of my first class.

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Aside from the fear of getting hurt or embarrassing oneself by falling, the fear of not being able to keep up is omnipresent that first class.   If you find yourself in an aerial yoga class discouraged by your ability, do like Elsa and “let it go.”  Today in class, there was someone completely new to aerial.  Almost half way through the class, she became discouraged and was ready to leave because she couldn’t keep up.  Fortunately, between our teacher’s encouragement and her fellow classmates’ encouragement, she decided to stick it out.  While she may have struggled that first half of class, she absolutely slayed the second half.

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I think the turning point was realizing that: a) nobody was judging her b) everyone progresses at their own speed c) her practice is her own.   In my opinion, there is no better teacher of humility than a good yoga practice.  I’m a highly competitive person.  Yoga has helped me put that aside.  I’ve learned to accept that my practice is my own own and I’m in competition with nobody.  In addition, I learned that I loved savasana in aerial yoga even more than on the mat.  I know, I didn’t know it was even possible.  In the aerial class, you encase yourself in the yoga silk, which becomes akin to a hammock.  It sways ever so gently during the pose, which is okay with me.  By the end of the savasana, I feel like I’ve just woken up from the best night’s sleep. I freaking love it.

Due to my work and hockey schedule,  I haven’t been able to go to a Vinyasa class for a couple of weeks.  I cannot, however, wait to see how I’ve progressed on my mat since starting my aerial practice.  As for my aerial practice, I look forward to seeing how it evolves from week to week.  Significantly, I’ve noticed with each class a step function in ability and comfort.  Last week I was able to do a flip, while today I was able to do plow and a shoulder stand.  It was pretty awesome stuff.   Tomorrow it’s Xtend Barre in the morning followed by hockey games in the afternoon.   At some point tomorrow, I’ll try to tackle the household chores. I’ll  probably try to get some laundry done and maybe even take a nap.

Tonight’s song comes courtesy of Tom Petty in honor of Aerial Yoga: Learning to Fly

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Namaste

Namaste

Namaste my dear friends in the blogosphere.  Tuesday morning started off with the realization and confirmation that another icon of my youth was indeed taken too early.  Today Tom Petty is playing his guitar with George in the great beyond.  Consequently, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and The Travelling Wilburys provided the soundtrack for my morning commute.

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The soundtrack brought some solace and lots of nostalgia.  Petty’s songs played with heavy rotation in my house.  Inevitably, these songs remind me of my parents and all the great times we had as a family growing up.  Not surprisingly, as my kids have spent many their summers with Minnesota, these same songs conjure up sweet memories of their time in Minny with my folks.  Music unites us, our collective experiences and the generations.  One simply cannot ignore or question the power that music has to shape our lives.

Tonight, after too long of an absence, I finally made it back to Burn Fitness for yoga with my beloved yoga teacher Monica.  Oh boy, am I going to hurt tomorrow.   Undeniably, my return to yoga was long overdue for both my physical and mental well being.   After a year of pain and grief, tonight’s class felt like a welcome release.   As I work to get rid of the Irma weight, I’ve made the commitment to myself to take time and devote it to my yoga practice . This is long overdue as all of the running and Zumba are quite taxing on my body.  Meanwhile, yoga is the perfect anecdote to keeping my body in peak physical shape.

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Post yoga, its all about the MLB wildcard game between my Minnesota Twins and the New York Yankees.  There’s something alluring and thrilling about baseball in October.  It definitely peaks my interest significantly more than the regular season.  We just turned the game on and its tied 4-4 at the bottom of the 4th.  We’re already into our bullpen.  Consequently, this isn’t the best harbinger for a favorable outcome for my Twins.  If the Twins lose, work will surely be miserable tomorrow with all the Yankees fans in the office.   Let’s go Twins!

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A Day that calls for courage

A Day That Calls For Courage

Today was a Monday for the history books, a day that calls for courage.  As we woke up in America, we woke up to the horrid news that 50 innocent souls had been slaughtered in Vegas.  Like many Americans, I struggled to make sense of the carnage.  Indeed I left my house with a sick feeling in my stomach and an ache in my heart.

Fortunately, my day was busy and my mind was occupied for a large part of it.  I did my best to avoid Facebook like the plague.  Sadly, what was once a nice escape to check in on friends, has become a bastion of hate masquerading as advocacy and opinion.  Somehow we’ve lost our perspective and our ability to respect others’ whose opinions may be different.  How is it that a VP for a major news network felt it was okay to say that she had no sympathy for the victims because country music fans are often Republicans?   How is okay that we, as a society, would even think someone’s life is less valuable because they disagree with us politically? Whiskey tango foxtrot….

The only acceptable response to any of this bullsh#t is the quote from Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen Silveria as he addressed the racist messages that had been written on the doors of African American cadets.  He said, “if you can’t treat someone from another gender, whether that’s a man or a woman, with dignity and respect, then you need to get out. If you demean someone in any way, then you need to get out.  And if you can’t treat someone from another race or different color skin with dignity and respect, then you need to get out.”  Importantly, it is possible to have differing opinions, but if you can’t treat everyone with dignity and respect, than I have no time for you.

Monday was bad enough and then the news updates starting popping in that Tom Petty had taken ill with a massive heart attack.  Once again, the pit returned to my stomach.  Tom Petty has been a major player in the soundtrack of my life.  I love Tom Petty and his music.

Long ago, as a child, so not really that long ago, my dad introduced me and my brother’s to Tom Petty. One of my fondest memories from childhood was when my parents had taken us to an airshow to see the Air Force’s Thunderbirds. Before the Thunderbirds took to the air, there were a number acts including the Army’s Golden Knights.  As the paratroopers took to the sky for their performance, Tom Petty’s Free Falling blared over the live speakers.  It was an amazing moment that has stuck with me for nearly 20 years.  Over the past couple of years, my boys have come to love Petty’s music as much (if not more) as me.

The news of his apparent demise and then the retraction just exacerbated the pain of the day.  Concerts are supposed to be an escape where the artist and the fan are able to interact.  They’re supposed to be a place where the music transports you and the experience leaves you feeling more connected to the musician and the music.  Unbelievably, the sicko in Vegas made the concert his opportunity to destroy many peoples’ worlds in one fell swoop.  There is no other word to describe him than evil.

Tonight we mourn the loss of innocent lives and a rock icon.  Its been a heavy day; a  that calls for courage.  These kind of days can be destructive to our mental, emotional and physical health.   Consequently, it is important to find ways to cope with the stress.  For me and my family, it was continuing our athletic pursuits.  While the bookends both had hockey tonight, I taught Zumba and ended class with a tribute to Tom Petty.  I never thought I use a Travelling Wilbury’s song in Zumba, but I used Handle With Care for a cool down and it felt incredible.   Finally, tonight I’ve peppered my blog with songs for inspiration.  Enjoy and namaste.