I’ve started to read B. K. S. Iyengar’s “Light on Yoga” and it’s as beautiful and profound as one might expect what’s regarded as the manual to yoga might be.
In the introduction Iyengar writes that the yoga student should “above all treasure love, moderation and humility. Love begets courage, moderation creates abundance and humility generates power. Courage without love is brutish. Abundance without moderation leads to over-indulgence and decay. Power without humility breeds arrogance and tyranny.”
I love that.
Yoga is about union and balance, both the physical and emotional, and it’s amazing how simple and pragmatic its tenets boil down to — to ideas and practices that are functional and helpful. I feel so thankful to have discovered yoga, especially as a writer, when my life is full of ups and downs, times of feast or famine, extremes of all sorts. Yoga keeps me grounded and allows me to live in the moment, to not dwell on the impossibilities of the future, of the uncertainties of life, of the fear that threatens each endeavor. Thanks to yoga, I know that every moment passes into another one, and I can get through this one just as I will the next.
Anyway, all this is to say that I cannot recommend yoga enough. I’m just, I’m really getting obsessed with it, you guys. And I bought crystals this weekend. Rose Quartz, Congo Citrine, Fluorite and Lapis Lazuli. I am a cliche. But this is what California does to you. I am not sorry I’ve embraced all these practices. I’m thankful. There’s a dream to be found and followed in all this sunshine.
You come here with an open mind and sure enough, it’s opened.
One thing that’s been happening over the past year as I’ve really gotten into yoga is that at some point every day I seem to have this unquenchable thirst to go upside down. Headstand, shoulderstand, or handstand — they’re all incredibly satisfying. There’s something about the whole experience that feels especially energizing when I’m writing. Anyway. Try it. And if you don’t do yoga on the reg, try it out against a wall or something. Being upside for a prolonged period of time every day is weirdly awesome.
a few weeks ago I started crying because I felt overwhelmed with love and it was like my body was just having this insanely visceral reaction to my happiness. the tears were the physical manifestation of me processing my elation. it was the silliest and most delightful thing!
but I cannot tell you how frequently I feel that way when I think about my friends. I adore them. They are each so wonderfully unique and smart and talented and add such marvelous things to my life. How lucky am I to have them! FRIENDS ARE THE BEST! I wish for everyone to have friends that bring such joy!
(also I’m wondering if I am doing TOO much yoga because I’ve started to get all weird and sincere and zen and happy and new agey about everything as per the above. or maybe it’s just that after four years of taking prozac, it’s finally working?)
but really, i love people!
I’ve done yoga everyday for the past 29 days.
I have no idea why but I guess it started because September was National Yoga Month and a lot of studios and teachers were doing “30 day flow challenges” and my friend Becca and I had just been on vacations and felt icky so we just committed to doing yoga everyday as soon as we got back. And so we did. And tomorrow I hit Day 30. I don’t think I’m going to stop, however. I think, now more than ever, I see that I need to keep going — maybe even see how many more days beyond 30 I can go for! (Without it feeling like Groundhog Day and/or me wanting to kill one of those smelly dudes in class who apparently has never heard of deodorant).
I was anticipating that by Day 29 I would be a hell of a lot more advanced than I am right now (especially considering I’ve been practicing yoga on and off for almost seven years now), and while I’ve definitely made some major advancements (arm balances! handstands!), if anything, doing yoga every damn day has just reminded me that it’s not about the short term goals, but about the long term. Making practice a daily thing, seeing changes over time and not obsessing over day-to-day progress. It’s about the big picture.
Oh and the best part about doing so much fucking yogaevery day is that I’ve just been eating a ton and still getting fit. So that’s awesome.
last night I had a crazy anxiety attack around midnight and went into a deep black hole of an existential crisis that mostly involved me wondering if i was going to die alone, if my life had already peaked, and if i would ever find someone to love… you know, that kind of thing. it wasn’t fun. eventually i fell asleep. this morning i woke up and immediately went to a really intense yoga class and then walked down to the ocean and swam laps (well, as much as you can call them laps when you are in the ocean) for about an hour and right now? i feel fucking fantastic.
yesterday i didn’t exercise at all. today, i did.
i guess what i am trying to say here is sometimes the key to happiness is working out your body, because it manages to work out your mind as well. i mean i know we all know this, and annoying fitness models on the cover of Shape magazine tell us this, but i can’t help but be amazed how true it is, or at least how applicable this theory is for my life.
oh, also getting a xanax prescription REALLY helps.
I am obsessed with my yoga mat! Funny enough, it came from the recently canceled TV show Partners, which my friend worked on. I was watching the show one night and it was the mat Sophia Bush was using so I texted my friend for info and then the next day she surprised me with the actual mat! The maker is Devi — and I did some research and it looks like there’s an Etsy store for the Devi mats. A heads up that the mat is slippery so about ten minutes into class I’m almost always throwing down one of my YogiToes skidless towels.
And in case you haven’t noticed, yes, I’m one of those diehard Yoga types. I practice about five times a week and sometimes it’s the only thing I’ll leave my house for, especially when I’m in a writing hole. I cannot recommend yoga enough.
Every Tuesday night one of my best friends who is a yoga instructor/talent agent teaches a Vinyasa Flow class and the attendees are almost always a group of our friends and it’s pretty awesome because Ida plays amazing music and a lot of times we can make song requests or there will be a surprise musical theme. Last night the theme of the music she played was me — quite literally, me, as it was all my favorite songs! — and “Michelle Obama” was thrown out like a mantra several times as a motivator, especially during the abs portion of the workout. It was all so LA but in the most delightful way.
I know my friends were worried I would be moving out of LA, and I had often thought about my five-year mark here as being a “make it or break it” sort of deadline, but after that stunt they pulled (seriously, the X-Files theme song came on near the end of class and I burst out laughing) I was reminded how we are so LA and I am so LA and everything that is “so LA” about my friends and my life and me, I love. I just honestly couldn’t imagine living this town for good anytime soon.