July was a crazy packed month. My family and I traveled to California to visit family and attend a mountain bike race in Mammoth, California. Then I went to San Francisco for a week by myself for a Restorative yoga teacher training with Judith Hanson Lasater. Then a quick stay in Flagstaff before we drove out of town again to visit my mom and dad in Tucson. We are back in Flagstaff.
Since coming back to the mountains, Jason had surgery on his broken thumb, summer has come to an end, and a new school year has begun. It's all been a bit too much, a bit too packed, a bit too fast. And now I know, that kind of a schedule is not for me or the kids. Jason does better with the busy than the rest of us do, but I think we are all feeling the impact of the last month.
So that's it, that's life over the last month in a nutshell. Except for the highlight hidden in the middle. The highlight of the last month was my visit to San Francisco, which was so wonderful and so needed. San Francisco is a pretty great place. I felt safe and energized in that city. There is a distinct buzz there mixed with the friendly, laid-back vibe. The teacher training was full. Full of people and full of learning. I have come home with a lot of information to digest and integrate and investigate. This is the good part for sure.
As far as getting the clarity I was looking for, I did come home with a little. What I learned for myself was that I really value and need both an active and passive practice. My body definitely got cranky from sitting too much and really needed some movement at the beginning or at least in the middle of such long days. I already knew that the yoga world was full of all kinds of differing information and ways to practice and teach, so that was not news to me. However, what came clear for me was that I found out that the yoga world is full of stuff that either really resonates with me or it does not. For example, I attended a bigger name yoga teacher's class while in San Fran and I did not care for it. I felt quite bored by the sequence, the lack of true direction, and the overall party vibe of the class. It felt like I went to a yoga show. So now I know with certainty that a party class with 100 people is not my thing. Classes like that take me so far outside of myself and the joy of my practice that I don't even understand the point of practice in that situation. When people stop class altogether to clap and sing along to a song, it's too much. This is not to say that I don't believe in having fun while practicing because I do. That said, I do believe that practice is in an inside job and there must be time for that inside connection to happen. If we don't make time for that deeper connection to happen, then all that is left is sweat and exhaustion. And that is not integration, that is not connection. It's just more tired on top of tired.
Mostly what I came away with from the training is just how stressed the world is. How stressed I am and how stressed I see everyone around me is. Though living in a chronic state of stress is the norm, it is not good or healthy or even necessary. And this is why restorative yoga and yoga that allows people to really slow down and focus on what they are doing is so needed. We have got to dial the stress down. Life doesn't need to be so hard and yet it feels that way all the time. Why is that? It's not right. I truly believe there is a better way. What is it that we all think we must be doing or have done? And if all these things that we think need to be done and this way that we think we need to live in order to succeed has to be, then how can we manage it all better? How can simplify? How can we enjoy more and stress less? How can we make the good better?
I have a head full of questions these days. I struggle too. I struggle at home more than I would like to and it's all to do with stress on one level or another. So that is my first priority, find ways to reduce the stress. And I hope that I can find a way to do this everyday either with a 20 minute restorative pose, a quiet walk under the big blue sky, sitting outside, closing my eyes, writing or just doing one thing at a time instead of three. This is my work.