Yoga 

Sitting with my legs crossed on the floor, Eden reminds us to keep our spines straight. Sitting up tall, mindful of my breath, I know everything will soon be right in my world.

We move to standing. Here in mountain pose, we root our feet, push the crowns of our heads further toward the sky, roll back our shoulders with our arms straight at our sides. Soft, relaxing music is playing in the background as we begin our sun salutation. I can hear everyone’s breathing, the music, and gentle reminders from Eden to do things like square your hips or tuck your elbows closer to your body.

The movement is what my body needs; what it’s been craving. As I fold, shift, release, muscles that haven’t been used for some time find motion and stretch. As we progress through poses and postures, my mind clears and becomes free. The only thing on it is the movement and keeping balance. The world goes away. All that matters in those moments are my body, mind, and fellow yogis.

Eden is our teacher, our instructor, and our inspiration. She can do some pretty amazing things with her body. There have been times over the past few months where she’s told me how to do something and shown me how to do it, and I thought that she was crazy. I knew my body would never do that. I’m overweight, have little flexibility, and minimal strength. However, Eden walks us through. With her faith in us and her guiding instruction, I am able to do what she says I can.

After her proving to me that my body is capable of doing what my mind tells it to, I feel a confidence I haven’t felt in a long time. After being sick and everything else I’ve been through in recent years, I feel like I have some semblance of control over my body.

When I attended class for the first time and did a forward fold, my fingertips did not meet my toes. Now, four months later, on a good day, all fingers touch the floor. My progress makes me smile.

Eden walks us through more poses urging us to lift, tilt, or reach. She praises us, corrects our posture. I try to feel how my body reacts as we switch from pose to pose. I’m not as flexible as my fellow yogis, but I am pretty good with balance.

With a smile, Eden walks us through a cool down. She speaks softly as we prepare for savasana. Becoming limp and relaxed to rest, we lie back with closed eyes and feel how our breath moves through our body. The world is tuned out, and we tune in to ourselves. It amazes me how sometimes this feels better than a full night’s sleep. Like all good things, savasana has to come to an end.

I’ve heard people talk about an exercise buzz or runner’s high. I’d never experienced anything like that until the first time I experienced savasana. It’s a lovely feeling.

I’ve practised yoga in the past on my own. There is a completely different experience to be had with a good teacher and a class that encourages each other. I leave class feeling accomplished and more comfortable with my body.  

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5 Things I’d Tell Myself 10 Years Ago

Saturday I turned thirty one. Thirty one is an unremarkable age. It’s not an important one like twenty one or eighteen or sixteen. People look forward to those. It’s not awful either. It’s not like thirty. People seem to think their life is over at thirty. Thirty really didn’t shake me.

At twenty one, I’d just lost my twins. Everything shifted. My life has not been the same.

I was at war with myself over my identity. I was pushing myself to be like other people and not who I wanted to be.

Tony and I made a pact that at twenty one, we’d go to the casino together just to say we’d been. We didn’t go. We discussed it later, but still ten years have passed and we still have not been.

If I could go back and talk to my twenty one year old self knowing what I know now, I would enlighten myself on many things.

  1. Read and write. A lot. Stop wasting your time on things that do not matter. I know it’s hard right now, but writing will heal you. This is what you need to do for you. I know you think you are writing, but it’s not nearly enough.You’ve got better stuff in you. You’re neglecting your reading. Diversify your reading.The library is free and within walking distance. No excuses.
  2. Go see a doctor. You and Tony both have things you need to nip in the bud. Also, I know you work at a fish house, but eat healthier. More veggies. Exercise.
  3. You have several toxic people in your life. Weed them out. You know who they are. Pay close attention to how they treat you. Don’t stand for that. You’ll be better for it.
  4. Think for yourself. Some of the opinions you have right now aren’t your own but those of other people and things that have been drilled into you. Read. It’ll help with the opinions. You owe it to yourself to decide for yourself.
  5. Go back to school. You’ll do this later. It’ll be great, but now is the perfect time. While working nights, your days are free. You’ll appreciate the accomplishment.

I could actually write a detailed book for my past self about traveling from then to now, but I suppose all those things helped me get to where I am now. I have nice, tight group of friends. I do regular yoga classes and am a member of a book club. I am still happily in a marriage that many people said would never last. I have a job I enjoy with people who appreciate me. I am at a place where I’m not wondering who I am supposed to be. I’m pretty happy with my world right now. Thirty one is looking good.

September

September is my second favorite month. It is second only to October. We are over halfway done with 2017. I’m not complaining. 2017 is trying too hard to be like 2016, and we all know what a wreck that was. Fall, my favorite time of the year, is just around the corner… somewhere else. For Mississippi, it’s more like fall is no longer than a week, usually in November.

Summer is considered over, but we still have temperatures in the 90s until October.

Kids are going back to school, football is beginning, and we’ll be bombarded with pumpkin spice every-frickin’-thing. Places like Wal-Mart will get a jump on Christmas, and make the garden center a winter wonderland. This drives my husband crazy. He shakes his head and in his most frustrated tone says, “What about fall? It’s just pushed aside for Christmas because that’s what businesses make the most money off of.” He’s a grumpy old man at heart.

September feels like new beginnings to me. Maybe it’s the subtle shift in the air or just a new school year.

I stepped outside of my house this morning to a crisp, cool breeze. It felt like autumn. Although I’m not naive enough to think it will last, I fully intend to enjoy the current cool snap. Fall is the most wonderful time of the year for me. The leaves are falling and plants begin to die, but as for me, I’ve never felt more alive than in the fall of the year.

This time of year always makes me think of my favorite things. Things like books, fresh coffee, cinnamon, fuzzy socks, and crisp autumn apples. I want to be outside. Doing yoga. Walking. Doing anything really. I get excited about all the colors and caramel apples and spiced tea. The world seems right during the fall. If sunset were a season, this would be it. My candles go from coconut for summer to things like apple cider or cinnamon bun.

I can’t wait for the smell of burning leaves that drift over the neighborhoods. I am ready for my best friend’s tradition of carving pumpkins every year. Cool, clear nights with skies full of stars are what I’m most looking forward to. I’m ready for a harvest moon hanging low in the sky.

September is the gateway to the best of the year.