[Don’t forget it’s time to plan when you’ll chant or pray or meditate for peace on Sunday]
I’ve been struggling to narrow down to three as I love so many things… and people… and my sweet Salty, the cat. So many things influence what rises to the surface on a given day. For instance, I threw my lower back out earlier this week and have spent a lot of time on a heating pad. So I’m feeling some love for my heating pad. Which ordinarily would be 200th on the list or something.
I finally decided on three, in no particular order and not necessarily representing the top three on my long list.
I’ve been doing a lot of gratitude practice and trying to start every day being grateful as soon as I wake up. Hit or miss depending on the level at which my brain is functioning… My breath is often the first thing on the list. Grateful to be breathing.
But beyond the got-to-breathe-to-live function, I’ve been in love with breath and breathing since studying pranayama, first as part of my regular yoga classes and then in a pranayama class my yoga teacher presented at the Temple of Kriya Yoga in Chicago.
So many ways to change a moment, from breath of fire to energize to bee breath to relax into sleep to simple deep breathing just to take back calmness when stress has grabbed hold. The vehicle for vital force energy to flow and… life itself…
Coffee would probably make my top three any time. Loved it since early childhood when I got a taste from Mom’s or Dad’s cup and started trying to get a sip whenever I could.
Friends in college introduced me to specialty coffee, Melitta pots and the beginnings of coffee snobdom. A summer studying in Paris and pouring down as much Cafe Creme a day as possible added to being picky.
Now I order my coffee from La Coppa in Marin County, make it in a stovetop espresso maker, add coconut milk creamer and serve in a favorite mug (I have a collection… could be one of a future favorite three). I try to stick to one cup a day, though. No more of those coffee marathons. Unless I’m in Paris…
In spring 1985 I turned my ankle and tore a ligament. In July as end-of-cast-day approached I decided that I’d like to try yoga as my return to exercise. I looked around and rejected classes for various reasons–often because of distance and the sense I’d quit going because getting there would be too much, especially as my law job sometimes required long hours.
Then one day I parked in front of a mysterious storefront (no windows, no sign) across the alley from the back stairs to my apartment (my usual entry point) and found myself staring at a sign announcing a yoga class starting in a couple of weeks. Time and distance problem solved!
The teacher, Bill Hunt, turned out to be amazing. He was so good other LONG-time yoga teachers dropped in on the class just to drink up his great teaching. And I became hooked. After a year, I consulted with him and signed up for a nine-month yoga teacher training at the Temple of Kriya yoga. The class met every Saturday and I kept taking Bill’s Tuesday class at the same time. When he added a second, I took that too.
It’s the one practice that always stays with me. Over the ensuing years I’ve learned so many practices, from meditations to Flying Crane Chi Gung and the Tibetan Rites to the Microcosmic Orbit… I pick them up and put them down as I feel I need one thing or another. But yoga is always part of me.