Yoga Monoblogs – Erica Smith

This is written by guest blogger/yogini Erica Smith. She is my theatre sister and late night partner-yoga pal…

Standing Still.

Let’s be honest, there’s never really a great place to start when you have to pick up the pieces or start from scratch. Whether you’re just starting your practice or picking it back up and have millions of reasons as to why it’s not the best time, or why you haven’t kept up with it-there’s never a good enough reason. Life isn’t like the movies where after a tragedy or transition period in someones life the music swells, the sun sets and there’s this beautiful disgusting picture of how life ‘should be’. That doesn’t happen at all. I wish it did, but it doesn’t. The reality is, the best place to start, is right where you are. Not waiting until everything feels right, not back peddling, and not jumping too far forward either. Rather, just starting where you are.

Mountain pose has always been a favorite of mine because it feels so rooted, so grounded…so absolutely present. There’s control, there’s breath, there’s balance, there’s energy, there’s thought, there’s stability and most of all-there’s presence. I always feel most present in mountain pose because it really gives me time to take inventory of my mind, body and soul. There’s no better place to give those things the time they deserve than by being still.

A friend of mine in New York said that at times, she has to literally force herself to stand against a wall and watch everyone rush by with their hard new york purpose, passion and pure drive just so she can realize that she is standing still away from it all. She has to completely and physically separate herself from the hubub of the world around her to catch her breath and to take inventory of how fast life is moving. I think that we all need to do that every day. Don’t wait until you’re so frazzled and broken that the excuses to process your day are too far gone.

I’ve never been the best at yoga. For years I have taught dance in various areas and found no greater joy. I started yoga in college  and have kept up with it here and there, but never consistently. However, I realized one day that I could love yoga just as much as I love dance if I looked at it creatively and not as “I need to work out”. If I looked at every yoga pose and flow with as much fun and freeness as I did with Mountain Pose, maybe, just maybe I could become addicted. This all started with dear sweet Cassi after a long day of being in the theatre. We went for a summer beer at our favorite place (“Bellies”) and decided, it’s beautiful outside, let’s go do yoga in the park! Then for the remainder of the spring, SunShine Yoga became a regular thing. Whether it was inside or outside in the park, I felt full of “sunshine” every time I did yoga. It was finally fun again. So for the past year, that’s what I’ve been doing. During a handful of transition periods I haven’t been able to find a studio or place to practice that I feel at home. So, I have been practicing on my own and trying different flows and poses that work for me and where I am in a fun way. It’s been insightful and refreshing to just be still and take in all of the views of my house while hanging out in different poses. (Maybe I’ll write a blog about the things we see while in different yoga poses…) I always start with mountain pose to see where I need to work. This week, I’ve had fun with a flow combination of chatarunaging down while in eka pada bakasana. My arms and core are crazy sore, but it has been worth it this week to work through that each time. I have constantly been taking inventory and processing as I go. Never back peddling, never waiting and never going too far ahead. Pushing myself where I need to push and resting when I need to rest, but I always start my day by standing still.

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2 comments
  1. GMA said:

    Great idea Erica. How did you get so wise so young.? This soon to be 75 year old Gma of your friend, Cassi is adding mountain pose to her 7 minute warm up series each AM. I’ve never been good at standing still but it’s never to late to learn. GMA

  2. JOAN E DIETZ said:

    i HAVE MY YOGA EXERCISE ON THE WII FIT EVERY MORNING. SINCE I SOON WILL BE 87, I HAVE A CHAIR NEAR BY. YEARS AGO I WENT REGULARLY TO A YOGA CLASS. THE WII FIT WITH ALL OF IT’S CHALLENGES KEEPS ME GOING. MY BODY MASS INDEX ON THE WII WAS 23 YEARS OF AGE ONE DAY LAST WEEK. I HAVE PUT IN 900 DAYS WITHOUT MISSING A DAY, EVEN WITH CANCER SURGERY LAST YEAR. I HOPE TO GET OTHERS INTERESTED. GLAD YOU ARE INTO YOGA DENNIS. LOVE, YOUR OTHER MOTHER

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