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Remember the Lotus

Whenever you should doubt your self-worth, remember the lotus flower.  Even though it plunges to life from beneath the mud, it does not allow the dirt that surrounds it to affect its growth or beauty.  Suzy Kassem. The lotus flower is considered a sacred symbol.  The Lotus symbolizes purity, beauty, majesty, grace, fertility, knowledge and serenity.  The lotus will fluorish in murky waters, pushing through mud and mire.  The petals break through and reach toward the sun, while the leaves stay afloat as they shine in the light.

Symbolically, lotus petals can be found in the chakra symbols.  Each chakra has a specific number of petals, representing ascending vibrational frequencies.  The state of enlightenment is represented by the thousand-petal lotus.

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Go-GO YOGA! (Week 2)

Last night was class number two in my "No Excuses" absolute beginner Yoga adventure!  It was A LOT harder than last week.  I was happy to report that I did my homework . . . most days.  However, I found it hard to sit on the floor because, apparently, my back muscles are much weaker than I thought.  It's painful to admit that ; )

The key to sustained happiness, health, and longevity is flexibility.  Ev Duran.

But I did do well last week with practicing the mountain pose, which is a standing pose during which you align yourself.  I practiced standing in a "modified" mountain pose every time I stood in line somewhere, and I was actually pleasantly surprised at how much my awareness of standing up straight has increased in only a week.  It's already getting uncomfortable for me to slouch!  YEAH!  And it actually doesn't feel as "crooked" for me to stand up straight as it did last week!

This week's class at Mountain Yoga added some new and more difficult poses.  Yes, they are still beginner poses, but they were much harder for me than last week.  We also added some stretches, which actually felt really good!  I don't think I realized just how tense and tight my muscles are.  And at one point, my hip popped so loudly it echoed through the room!

Back in 2006, a doctor told me I would likely not be walking in five years.  By 2010 I was using a cane most days, and it was starting to look like he was right.  He'd told me part of my problem was that I was "too flexible" in my back.  It certainly didn't feel that way last night!  But what he meant when he said it was that my muscles were so weak in my back, they could not hold my spinal column in proper alignment.

I've spent the past three years trying to prove the doctor wrong.  I lost 60 pounds (which helped tremendously), became a Reiki Master (to help with personal healing), made improvements to my diet and now I am enrolled in Yoga.

It is still early in the "game", but having an instructor who walks us through the proper way to do the poses and breathe through them really helps!  She also offers genuine encouragement.  And the poses she has shown us so far seem to certainly be helping with my physical issues.  I feel taller already!

In 2010, I found out I had already lost 2.5 inches off my stature because of the abnormality in my spine.  The poses we are learning in Yoga strengthen the core muscles (back and abdomen), and that's something I need . . . desperately!  Especially if I want to continue proving the doctor was wrong!

I have also been able to quiet my mind.  As we got close to the end of the class, we did the corpse pose.  During this pose, you lie flat on your back, close your eyes and completely relax your body and mind.  It is a time to just let go of everything . . . all your thoughts and all the stress your body has released during the yoga practice.  I was shocked that the only thought I had during the entire time was at the very end of the pose when I thought, "I haven't had a single thought the whole time I've been lying here!"  The instructor gently chimed our "wake-up" call and talked us back to awareness.

Some of the poses we have learned so far include:

I included links to the specific poses on a Yoga website I found online, called "Mind Body Green" for those of you who are interested in reading more about them.  Not only does the website show photos of the poses, it also lists the benefits and has a how-to video for each pose.

So what did I learn this week? 
  • I'm not as physically strong and flexible as I thought
  • Yoga is harder than it looks!
  • This class is EXACTLY what I needed! (I think . . . )

Never give up!

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