Living with intention, meditation

On learning and unlearning

Student

The hardest thing
about unlearning
is letting go of what
you thought you
knew

By Alexandra Elle, Neon Soul

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Living with intention, My YTT, Yoga off the mat

Teacher Training Completed. What’s next?

I passed my final yoga teacher training exam this past Saturday. I studied my sit bones off and that showed in my grade. I’ve become a more calm teacher with experience, and I’m ready to register with Yoga Alliance.

Just about every person I’ve encountered since graduating from my YTT program has greeted me the same way: “Congratulations! What’s next?”

Well isn’t that the million dollar, or perhaps I should say, two hundred hour question.

I have a lot of thoughts and ideas, lined up like the birds on the wires here in this photo I took this morning. But who knows when the ideas will lift and take flight, which will flourish, which will stick.

My best answer today, merely hours out of the program, is as follows.

I will continue to practice. I will teach when I can, as much as I can. I will live yoga. There isn’t a set path, it isn’t a linear process. We shall see! I promise I will continue to share yoga forever. And I know. I sound like a certified hippie. But this is where I’m at today.

Thank you to everyone has helped me get here. For now, stay tuned! Let’s put our legs up the wall, tune into our breath, and see where that takes us.

Living with intention

Lessons from Lithops and other plants

About two months ago, I decided to try my hand at succulents. I shopped around and added twenty plants to an online shopping cart, then got to work sketching where I would plant them. When I researched light requirements in-depth, I realized that the rocky succulent garden I had in mind would not work in front of the house, becuase these plants prefer Southern exposure.

As my garden progressed, I uncovered small hurdles… some plants need more nutrients, some less. Some are easily sunburned. Very few can handle winters here in zone 8a. My list of plants that could thrive here was getting shorter and shorter.

I deleted the online shopping cart and went to the local nursery. I let my kids each pick out a succulent, and my daughter picked a Lithops… a “living rock.” Sounds easy to care for, right?

After a few weeks in it’s new home, the plant started showing signs of ill health. The old me would have tried to revive it. More water, less water. More sun, less sun. The old me would have tried to do anything recover the plant, before tossing it into the compost heap for recycling.


But the now me, the me who accepts that I alone cannot do all the things, know all the things, and fix all the things, recognized that it was time to go to my community for guidance. I posted a photo of my sickly lithops, and immediately learned that it was, in fact, NOT a lithops, but a close relative called pleiospilos nelii. Not a living rock but a “split rock.” The extra leaves that we found appealing at the nursery are, in fact, a sign that the plant was in transition, and in fact I shouldn’t save them… they will feed the plant and shrivel. We had sunburned the plant by putting it in too strong sunlight, for too long, too soon. We had overwatered. We had made assumptions based on research, trusted the nursery would only sell a perfect plant, but we lacked the experience and patience to set the plant up properly.

We are not at our best acting solitarily, living in a vaccuum. Our plants, our selves, require not only sun and water, but patience, support and imput from those who have “been there,” acceptance of who and where we are, and time.

When I looked at this plant, I saw a plant that was dying. But people who have “been there” have assured me that if we re-pot the plant in the appropriate growing media, slowly acclimate it to it’s new home, and wait, the damage will “grow out,” the sunburned leaves will shrivel and nourish the plant, and new, healthy leaves with eventually grow.

Living with intention, My yoga teacher said...

Pondering this today

“If you are being poked or prodded, you are not being punished or abused. You are being pushed out of the nest.”

This is from Savasana, something my yoga mentor read about a year ago. I jotted it down in “Drafts,” and happened upon it today. 

Source is unknown because I don’t remember what it was, but I expect to come across it again in the next six months. 

Living with intention, My yoga teacher said...

Spring, for me.

If you look at the calendar, or ask a groundhog, or follow the sun, it may not look like Spring just yet. But it is Spring for me. After a long winter of runny noses and Dickensian coughs, my family seems the be on the mend. It’s chilly but our energy is up, particularly mine. I am in motion. I have newness on the brain. I feel like writing, after a long winter of just… not.

I’ve cut meat out of my diet for a second time… I was a vegetarian from the age of 15 until I was 24… here I go again at age 40. Given the meat alternatives on the market, and the fact that I know more about nutrition, it feels new to me. I am planning my garden. Or rather, un-planning my garden, as I’ve decided to give my small raised bed a year of compost and soil renewing love, so it feels like Spring. And I have a new vision for my yoga journey, one where I begin sharing and teaching yoga sooner than I imagined. More on that soon, hopefully.

Yesterday, my yoga teacher’s reading touched on yoga as a garden, on tending our practice like we would a garden. It is a metaphor that speaks to me. A garden flourishes with attention, and a person blooms with intention. A garden and a person experience seasons of abundance, of shedding, of dormancy, and of blooming. I am welcoming this blooming stage, this Spring, as I marinate in this newness.