Tag Archives: Yoga

Morning Ritual Report

I drag myself out of bed between 5:00 and 5:30am Every weekday morning. If my alarm is not going off, my cat is meowing like his life depends on getting inside the bedroom. That’s actually helpful.

I grab my yoga mat, yoga block, phone and laptop. I open the door, blocking Jet’s way in. I lay my laptop on the table next to my journal, my yoga mat and block on a chair for later and I put a pot ff water on the stove. My morning ritual begins.

Black woman yoga

The quiet at that time of the morning is palpable. There is a stillness that I revel in no matter how I’m feeling emotionally. It’s my time and my choice to get done what I need for myself and myself alone. To stretch, pray, meditate, reflect and drink something warm while I journal. One of my favorite morning yoga positions is supported fish pose because it opens your chest and allows you to breath deeper. Deep, full breaths that get all down in the bottom of you and flow out slowly feel so good. Any yoga pose that requires you to open your chest is also great for your heart chakra.

I haven’t been keeping track of how log I’ve been doing this for fear that keeping track this early might trigger laziness. I’d say I’ve been at it consistently for a few weeks, three at the most. It takes a lot for me to get myself up out my cozy bed but I think the reason I continue to do it is because of the way I feel at the end. I feel like I’m able to get my head together enough to not feel unprepared by the time I leave the apt, to feel like I’m not rushing, to feel calm, energized and ready to face the world. That’s worth a lot to me. It means I can relax a bit. It means that I can detach from the mounting illusion of resentment, pessimism and nay saying I confront both from outside and inner voices and confront the world more balanced, more closely connected to love, however small or significant that may appear to be to others.

My morning ritual is steadily becoming a space I’ve created that allows me to return to a level of conscious center. I invite myself in and accept my own invitation. It’s like the way I feel in nature. I can always find myself there. And it’s important to have a place or space where you can find yourself no matter what is going on.

Be blessed.

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Team Urban Eve

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I was out and about this weekend running errands and attending to my regular self care when it occurred to me that the women who provide indispensable services to me on a regular basis are some amazing women. And I have selected them especially not only because of excellence with which they provide these services but because of the love, warmth, support, and receptivity that come with it.

You know what I mean.

We pay for services all the time but if we have a pleasant experience, a deeply beneficial exchange with the person who delivers those services, we go as much for that loving, supportive inspiring energy as for the service itself.

My therapist is a woman who just rocks. Like, I love her! She challenges me, makes me feel safe, helps me to be more accountable for the goals I set and much more.  Her role in helping me in my journey towards helping me peel away the layers of my own psyche to reveal my purpose in this life has been indispensable.

There’s my brow technician in Chelsea. Unless I am really desperate, there is only one woman I want to do my brows. She’s the only one who makes my sparsely growing non-thick brows work. She just makes it work. And she is always, warm and sweet and hospitable and just makes me feel dope. I took my mom to see her the last time she visited me and if you knew me well enough, you would know how huge that is. If I’m taking mom to meet my brow tech, I love my brow tech. And mom approved. Mom approved.

There’s my weekly yoga instructor, an independent contractor who has been coming to my workplace to give staff yoga classes since 2009! I’m not saying I will never take yoga with anyone else and I certainly have before. But I have never in my life taken yoga consistently the way I have with Sara. It’s more than just the yoga. It’s Sara. It’s her energy. It’s her way of explaining and executing moves, of moving with us, of challenging us, correcting us, making us laugh, keeping it light but also as she says, respecting the divine in all of us and calling attention to the ways in which yoga is not just about moving the body but also the spirit, about accessing the infinite within. I need that. So I show up as often as I can.

As I adjust to my new life in Inwood I have seen several cute nail places in the neighborhood but in my mind I know there is still only one nail salon that gets my money. Bed of Nails Harlem is not just a nail salon to me. I go there as much to chit chat with my nail tech and other ladies in the shop while sipping a complimentary tea or Bellini as to get a set of amazing color changing gel done on my fingers. The women there do amazing nails as well as provide a warm, and comfortable space where you are encouraged to linger, sit, talk and converse while music plays. It’s a class act. And I am a person who is slow to warm up to people, but once I feel like I can let down my guard, I’m inquisitive, quick to laugh, learn, talk, teach, and take mental notes. I knew from the day I walked through those doors that I would return again and again.

Because, as women of color we often struggle to find spaces in which to engage with images of themselves that are not marginalized, destructive and stereotypical it is extremely important for us to carefully select other women who care for us in ways that are particular to serving our needs based on the goals we have set and the ways in which we wish to meet, influence and engage with the world.

Gathering in spaces regularly to get  pampered, fed, educated, mentally and spiritually stimulated, all the while learning and discovering things you never would have anywhere else is an absolute necessity.  My girl at SoulSistah4real always reminds me that in ancient times it was our divine right as women to make time for ourselves in this way, for self care, for emotional, mental and spiritual care.

It still is. And it is up to us to make that happen not only for ourselves but for each other.

 

Yoga Gives Me Something

So I had lunchtime yoga today which has not been in regular session for a few weeks. I ashamed to say that I have not been working out at home lately so this was the first time I’ve moved my body in some time and my menstrual cycle just started this morning so I wasn’t sure what I was expecting but I was looking forward to it.

I’m not sure why, maybe it’s the extra boost of energy a woman’s cycle provides in the beginning, but I felt strong and capable instead of worn out and shaky which I have felt many times when I have not been on my menstrual cycle. So go figure. I also felt calmer afterwards but I’ve felt that before also. Today, what I noticed most of all was a lack of impatience and emptiness that has become the norm to me. If everyone has a bucket of patience and empathy, I usually walk around on empty, hoping no one will notice and trying to pretend a supply into being until I can get back home and collapse. Either that, or I just hold back a bursting damn of rage and negativity until I get home and collapse. I guess yoga centers me up a bit, a feeling I don’t get to have very often. I have a great instructor who encourages us to be respectful with ourselves and for whatever reason, I actually pay attention to that. I think I look forward to yoga because it takes me out of my head where I live most of the time. I watch, I listen, I do, I feel, I trust. That’s all. What a relief when Shavasana comes at the end and I can also focus on letting the ground support me and let my body and it’s vibrational qualities leave it’s unique impression in the spiritual ether.

I promise I won’t start chanting.

We did reverse tabletop pose today which we don’t do often and I certainly haven’t done in ages. I was surprised at how easy it was to get into. I watched my poofy stomach rise up above my hips and didn’t judge myself, just took it as a sign I was doing well and could raise my hips up that high.  My yoga instructor has a belly as well but that’s because she’s pregnant! YAY!  I think it’s really cool that she still practices with us, because it’s essentially like having two people teach us yoga. Well sort of. Baby has no choice.

I wonder what goes on in utero while mom is doing yoga. I wonder how the baby absorbs practice in that space.  It’s so amazing watching her stomach get bigger and bigger in her small frame every week and I wonder how long she will continue to teach us, or rather how long she will be able. I kind of hope she goes into labor during practice just so I can write about it. LOL!

It’s amazing the things women’s bodies can do while we’re carrying other bodies inside!

And outside for that matter! LOL!