Sunday, February 6, 2011

Patience is Golden!!!

Dear Everyone, I have been so out of it, haven't felt like myself or in balance or 'normal' in any way all through the month of January. I spent most of January, one of the most important months of the year for me, being sick with some unknown cold/flu in bed. I stayed mostly at home in bed, even on my birthday I was at the doctor. I had no energy, not even to think and I was so desperate to try anything to heal myself as I had never been so sick like that. I had no idea what hit me, or how it hit me, but it felt like 50 trucks hit me and pasted me on to my bed. I couldn't do any yoga, I tried but didn't help much and because I had to go give up all the things I loved for several weeks and just sleep I was feeling worse and worse. (Even sleeping which I love was becoming too much but that was all I could do). So when it did pass, although many times I thought it wasn't going to, I was able to start thinking and planning again. It made me think, maybe I'm not as patient as I thought I was, or is this sickness part of my adaptation to the Turkish environment? because if it is I don't like it and why should I force my immune system and body through such torture? Finally once my head stopped hurting but I still didn't feel good enough to go out, I ended up watching TV (yes TV and its useless shows!!) and procrastinating and then did more of it. I haven't watched TV probably for at least 3 years, (I only watched rented movies) because I realized it's useless for me when I can spend more time in nature or reading, and there is the Internet anyway, and I had promised myself I won't watch it again, even if I'm in a house where others watch it all the time. And it was going well until I had to lock myself indoors and now I'm finding it's a difficult habit to cut. So, what's going on? I'm thinking this transformation/transition mode that I seem to be stuck in is getting boring. The worst may be that I've been thinking a lot more of how it isn't working out in Turkey, or maybe it's the city Istanbul with its chaos, it's making me miss Boston and my life, my freedom there so much that I have been seeing Boston in my dreams since the beginning of January. Oh! I said my freedom in US! Hmmm. Do I have to be in US to be free, or do I have to live on the top of a mountain isolated or do I find freedom within myself? One thing I know for sure is that my yoga practice (now with the help of my yoga teacher training) is helping me learn how to find these answers and solve the mysteries of life.
Anyway, as I still struggle with these thoughts and doubts about life in Turkey and life in general that feels like torturing my mind now, I received some wonderful inspiration from my yoga teacher Jenn Pici Falk from Boston/Cambridge. It was so well written and reminded me that I'm not alone and nor is any of you. We go through the troubles and struggles and the worst and the best of life together even if we are not aware of it at all seconds. I also want to thank all of my other friends who have tried to help me and send me positive vibes through this difficult time. But Jenn's message I couldn't let go, so I am including her words below. Maybe I should also note that she is pregnant, almost due:)

For most of you, it's not birth that you're storing energy for, but it's most likely something. On this Aquarius New Moon (and Chinese New Year), I send you all strength to liven up your life here in the middle of winter! Do something that will get you out of that rut. Try a new healthy food, try a new yoga class or teacher, treat yourself to a day of beauty or wellness, go to that music concert, read that book that you've always wanted to, or better that trip to the place you've always wanted to. It's that time of the year to step out of our personal boundaries and embark on something that will bring back your zest for life!
Something I've been seeing in the media and thinking about lately, is discovering what works for you, personally. This means in all areas of life. You see, it's not so much discussed about in our world how we should go ahead and do this. It's that everything is judged in the media and our society.
So, this got me thinking as to why people aren't talking about the fact that every person is on a path to their own lifestyle discoveries. On NPR, in the New York Times, on Oprah, on network television, (can you tell I've had more time on my hands?)...there are discussions about how you should eat, yoga rebels, relationship choices, political dilemmas (which are never compassionate), and everything else you can imagine. And most of the time, there is only one side of the story told or simply not enough information given for listeners or viewers to decipher a solid feeling about the topic. However, I seem to think that our society and our media continue to shape the way people DO think. And this is what troubles me.

The "Yoga Rebel" article came a couple Sunday's back in the Times about NYC teacher Tara Stiles. Apparently she leaves out any spirituality aspect of yoga and uses the practice as a main form of physical exercise and wellness. And her teaching has been getting attention because she's beautiful, fun, knows how to market herself, and is gaining in popularity. This article (among others published this year) brought some debatable discussions in the yoga community. Tara doesn't like to follow a specific "style" or branch of yoga. She plays pop music a lot. She's getting flack from "true yogis" in her approach. And then there was the On Point interview/discussion about the new book, Poser: My Life in 23 Yoga Poses. The author is a middle-aged mother who discovered life lessons on the yoga mat, and wanted to talk about the pressures of motherhood in our society. As a mom-to-be, I already feel some of those pressures! That right there shows me more about our society. And even about the yoga community.
And yesterday's Oprah episode showed Oprah and her staffers trying a week-long Vegan challenge. Plus, Michael Pollan was on, and they showed a beef processing plant. It was an eye-opening episode for probably most of her viewers. I found it to be a bit fluffy (what can you expect from just an hour long Oprah episode?!), and the vegan expert they had on was not even a nutritionist and didn't really do a great job at discussing the proper way to cook really delicious whole food meals. Michael Pollan was way better and I just wish he would have spoke up more to America's people about the importance of shopping at Farmer's Markets for meat instead of the big chain stores, etc. (Perfect example of my own choice and opinion). In the end, at least Oprah enhanced the thought that everyone needs to be more conscious about their eating habits and do what is best for them, personally.
Which now brings me to my point. There is no "true yogi." There is no "right" way to eat. There is no "perfect" way to parent (or birth!). We are all on a path to find our own way. Yes, there are hard-core yogis. There are those who truly take the practice to another level and it's part of their every cell and being. But, there are also those that practice yoga at a gym after lifting weights, or running and they don't want to get any deeper into it than that. They might already have another outlet for spirituality. Some yoga teachers play kirtan music or no music at all. Some play Lady Gaga. And some are somewhere in between trying to find a nice balance in the midst of it all (that would be me). ;)
Of course there are better ways of eating for your health. But, who is to say that someone who is mindful of the meat they eat, and who eats whole veggies and grains as well, is any less than a vegetarian or vegan? And same goes with parenting. Of course there are pressures to buy acceptable toys, foods, clothes for your children and then also have time for yourself. But, who is to say that someone who uses cloth diapers, makes their own baby food, or home-schools their kids are any better than someone who doesn't?
These are all things I miss about teaching right now. Offering up the energy and discussion and awareness to people that it first comes from self-acceptance and discovering your own awareness before you can decide what, in our conglomeration of choices in this world, works best for YOU. So, keep on living day to day and practicing your yoga in whatever form, so that you can figure out your own sense of being. Find out more about something that you're interested in. Don't let the media do the thinking for you. Find out why you like and do the things you do, and then either keep doing them or make that change. We will fail many times and we will change our minds. The important thing is that we are doing it and we are understanding why we are making the decisions that we are.
Whew! Okay, now that I got that out there...
My pose recommendation of the month is to do any hip opener that you love. It's that time of year when we become super tight due to less activity, the coldness in our bones, and the stress. Get down into your favorite lunge, lizard pose, half pigeon, double pigeon, cow-face pose, thread the needle, frog, or anything that (once again) calls out to YOU.
Final note from EKC: Hip openers are my fave poses! So maybe you can try one and maybe you can consider watching less TV and or even stopping to watch it and find better, healthier ways to listen to yourself, what you really want to do. I know I will:)