Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Perfect Yogi

Dear Swami Cat:

I've been thinking lately about how when I take Gopal, my dog out for a ride in the car he jumps into my car not knowing where we're going or for how long.  He willingly jumps in and sits comfortably, feeling the breeze, content and happy without any knowledge of what's happening next.  I'm jealous of his complete surrender.  How do I cultivate this for myself?


Dear Chauffeur,

If you desire to be like your dog there are a few options you can try.

1) Let someone else drive and stick your head out the window
2) Take a few minutes in the morning and meditate on the notion that we are not in control of the driver seat no matter how much it feels or looks like we are-- God's hand is really moving our car, not our foot on the pedal
3) Practice saying yes to someone who usually makes you lose your cool.  Maybe a small child at home who talks to you only when you pick up the telephone or a student who calls your name from across the room-- practice hearing that person's voice as the voic of God, drop everything and listen to that voice.  Then you will be like your dog.

Now if you want to know how to surrender like your cat just let a mouse or bird loose in your house and hunt it all day.  It's very focusing and better than Pilates at core strengthening.

Om and Purr,
Swami Cat

Monday, May 23, 2011

What we need now is a Laugh

Dearest Yogis,

Well we survived!  Another day.  Another chance to laugh, isn't it so?

I thought it about time we started a Yoga blast of laughter.  Send in your Yogic-style jokes.   I look forward to reading them.

Here is mine which I heard from the sweetest most open hearted nurse/Yogi that I ever had the privilege of learning from-- Radha/Ginny at Freehold Yoga Center

The Joke:
This guy walks into a barber and asks him to buzz his hair and says,"Whatever you do, do not take my headphones off."  The barber cuts his hair as he wishes but thinks that's weird because it won't look very good.  Next week the same guy comes in and asks for the same thing.  This happens three more times and then the next time the guy comes in asks for a haircut and reminds him that whatever you do don't take the headphones off.  So the barber begins to cut.  This time the guy falls asleep.  So he quickly takes the headphones off, buzzes his hair and then replaces them on his ears.  But when he tries to wake the guy, the guy doesn't wake up.  The barber tries but the man's fallen unconscious.  The barber lifts the headphones to his own ears and hears, "Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out."

 Don't Forget To Breathe!

(And on your walk today even if it rains you can smell those wonderful flowers that are bursting open right now!)

Please send your own favorite Yogic joke to Swami Cat.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

On Death and Birth

Dear Readers of the Yoga Girl Blog,

Thank you so much for the kind words regarding this hard time that my family is going through with the passing of my grandmother a few weeks ago and now my grandfather on Sunday.  Many in the Yoga community have been so sweet and it feels as if I have a second family's support.

Having loved ones pass out of their body is such a reflective time.  I am reminded so often lately to not take any moment for granted. 

My grandfather's recent passing was a bittersweet goodbye.  He so badly wanted to end his suffering and did not want us to see him so frail.  He used to be a boxer and was very proud of his machismo, as well as his knuckle-crushing handshake.  So being under 100 pounds at the end was not how he wanted to be remembered.  So I am happy he is now pain-free and I hope with all my heart that he is reunited with his beloved wife who passed about six years ago now.  They knew each other as kids and married at eighteen.  It makes me feel so happy to imagine them together again.

I am glad that this ordeal is over, especially for my parents.  They have been running, shopping, making doctor's appointments and taking care of their parents on a daily basis for almost a year.  I have a new vivid compassion for caregivers now.  So hard they work, many times forgetting to take care of themselves. 

So I asked my mother how she feels now that her father has passed.  She didn't hesitate when she answered.  She told me that she isn't afraid of dying now and that it reminded her of when she gave birth.  She said that when she was giving birth to me she was very nervous about the pain and didn't know what to expect.  But, she thought, if her mother could give birth (who was not the most courageous person-- running away from even a discussion of pain) then she could do it.  Mom said that she used, "If mom can do it, I can do it" as her mantra.  And now watching her father's slow decline, she is no longer afraid of death either because she can see it is just like giving birth.  Giving birth is a violent pushing and contracting of a baby away from one world into another.  Mom said, "maybe death is just another messy birthing from one world into another."  What a profound notion, I thought.  So maybe some deaths are harder because they need more of the pushing and contracting to get them to their next adventure.

I like this thought.  And I like knowing that my mother isn't afraid of death now, for she has a mantra, "If my parents could do it, I can do it."  And so shall I use this mantra when my time comes. 

Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.
Peace to all.
Love to all.
Light to all.
And rest in this peace Poppy Mel and Grandma Ethel.