Yoga Stories – Tibetan Bowls

I love teaching yoga. There is a new story every day.

One of my playlists features Tibetan singing bowls. People generally respond well to them. One of the ladies in one of my classes LOVES them. Any time I play them for shavasana, she is so happy. She tends to set her mat down in the back of the room. Sometimes just for final resting pose, I move my portable speaker back there, closer to her, knowing how much she enjoys the sound.

But, it turns out there is a guy in class, that hates sound of Tibetan singing bowls. After I’d played them lots of times, he took me aside one day and told me they hurt his ears, making shavasana feel like fingernails running down a chalkboard for him. I was glad he told me, and glad I’d at least been moving my speaker to the back of the room, since he usually parks his mat more toward the front, and on the opposite side.

What to do? What to do? I don’t want anyone to be miserable in my class.

Being ever so helpful, I decided to gift a CD of the bowls to the woman that loves them. If she can’t have them in class, at least she could play them on her own. I told her only to play them at home, never in the car, they might relax her too much. Hardy-har.

It was a few weeks later, when I noticed them leaving together in the same car.

Turns out they are a married couple.

I inadvertantly sent the singing bowls home with her, to torture him at home.

Oops!

If you want to check out Tibetan Singing bowls to see if they resonate with you there are lots of sites on You Tube. Put some headphones on, and notice the effect they have on your body. Even closing your eyes for five minutes and listening to the bowls can give the worry- weary brain a needed rest or re-set. Or, try playing them as background noise and notice if they have a calming effect on your mood.

If you don’t like them, I promise not to send them home with you.

On Heels and Meditation

*image from boutiques.com

I was formally introduced to meditation in my early twenties. My karate teacher had invited a meditation instructor to come teach us how.

I knew nothing about this woman but I remember judging her. What was she doing waltzing into a feminist karate studio wearing a skirt and heels? What could a woman who intentionally “hobbled” herself for fashion…to look good for men, have to teach me about anything?

Heels. Please. Can’t even run in them. How smart is that? This was my thought process.

We sat on chairs and she talked about quieting the mind. She played music and instructed us to focus on the breath.

And I did.

And for some reason this meditation thing was easy for me. Unbeknownst to me, I’d been doing it all my life. Lying on my bed as a child, looking out the window at the leaves on the trees until I felt it. The disappearance of the little self. The merging with All that Is. Meditation was familiar.

For a long time I tried to put intentions to my meditations. I would want to be a better writer. A better mother. A better person. Help me be better. Striving, striving. Take away my not good enough-ness. Please.

Take away my arrogance.

Take away my longing.

Take away my temper.

Take away my unlovable-ness.

But lately something else is happening. I’ve just been asking God to be with me. I abide in You, and You abide in me. Let’s just breathe together. Breathe me God. Just for the joy of connecting.

No striving.

Just let me sink, deeper and deeper into You. Let the little me disappear until all my molecules are merging with All that Is. Just like when I was a child. Let me be in this a while.

Let me float here. Out of this body. Out of time and space. Nowhere. Everywhere. Buoyant.

That first meditation teacher…the one in the heels, generously gave us each a free cassette tape to take with us. I still have it.

I have no idea who she was, but I’m thankful for her.

And here’s the thing….I’m never gonna wear heels. The difference after all these years is, I no longer judge those who do.

Aeoliah

Angel Love

I love this music for meditation.

They used to play it at the study group of A Course in Miracles I attended when we lived in Bel Air, Maryland. On Thursday nights, people would file in frazzled from their busy lives. We’d begin with a short meditation, maybe ten minutes or so, and this music would play. I don’t know what happened for everyone else in that room, but I went places. I don’t know if it was the music, the dimly lit room, or the collective energy of the people in a small  space with the mindset of,

Where would You have me go?

What would You have me do?

What would You have me say and to whom?

Anyway, I loved it. The air in the room was different after meditation and we were able to have some amazing exchanges. This music brings me back to that calm transcendent state very quickly.

Riley and Seth and I listened to it the other night. It had been a doozy of a homework session. After two hours of Riley crying and screaming and no homework really done, I lost my temper and yelled at her. With tears streaming down her face, Riley asked if we could do a meditation.

We turned on the Christmas tree and turned off the rest of the lights.

Flat on my back on the floor, one child curled under each arm, the music played. The Christmas lights twinkled.

It didn’t solve all our troubles,

but it helped.

He thinks a little pre-paving might be in order…

“Time to start homework!” I say to the kids. 

Riley sucks in her breath, anticipating disaster before she even begins.

Seth leans over to me and whispers, “I think Riley needs to do some ‘Om’ work  before she starts her homework.” He puts his thumbs to his middle fingers to form circles and feigns an exaggerated peaceful smile.

We do almost daily meditation practice as a family but never that way. It made me laugh and it started out the homework segment on the right foot.

Too Much Togetherness

Day six of being together 24/7 in a small hotel suite. I can feel myself gasping for breath. Not literally, but I do feel a slow suffocation. I’m out of my element. We can’t go out to eat (per Seth’s health issues) and therefore I’m preparing every meal in a tiny kitchenette with no counter space. No matter where I turn, someone is in my way. I am a person who needs a lot of space. I used to fight it, worried I might be too high maintenance. I no longer apologize for needing what I need.

Yesterday, during our lunch hour, I went out to the van and did a meditation while Todd took the kids to the outside play area and let them bounce on the trampoline. The wildest thing happened.

In my meditation, the whole crew at 4 Paws, all the families and staff, became a cast of performers. We were all there, doing a play about a place that trains service dogs. We were actually taking our curtain call. The two beautiful actresses playing the kids in wheelchairs, stood up and walked, unlimited in every way, smiling huge grins as they took their bows.

The  actors who played the other children with disabilities came forth one by one to the front of the stage, radiant, clear headed, composed. 

When Riley came forward, she got rave applause, her acting was so complex, yet so subtle, and had earned the respect of the audience.

We all came forward together, the supporting actors who played the part of concerned and loving parents. The siblings took their bows. The employees at 4 Paws.

Jeremy the head trainer came out, and took his curtain call with all the dogs in class. They all bowed together and the crowd went wild.

I came out of this meditation feeling exhilarated. Like I’d gotten a glimpse of who these kids really are, beyond their physical or cognitive limitations.

This afternoon I locked myself in the bedroom in our hotel suite and did another meditation. It was not filled with imagery, just relaxation. 

Whatever comes of it, I’m better when I take the time to meditate.  I’m a kinder person, a more patient mother, a more tolerant woman. I feel better about life.

I no longer apologize for needing time to myself.

If you have high expectations of the kind of person you want to be, high maintenance is required.