Long walks in nature, boat rides, and just general observation seem to be occurring more frequently for me. And if I’m honest, I think I’ve also become a bit of a bird nerd which is something I wouldn’t have been able to predict about myself. I never thought I would enjoy searching for various birds in the trees or be someone who enjoyed learning about them and observing them. It’s not that I disliked birds, I just never saw myself as I saw those I witnessed doing that very same thing. I defiantly never thought I’d be a person running around like a semi-lunatic (while the entire town passed me by vehicle) as I chased a Belted Kingfisher around Lake Hollingsworth. With that said, I’m pretty sure anyone who might have seen me on that day could only think that I’ve totally lost my mind.
I won’t even argue that possible accusation because I’ve never claimed to be normal however I will say that part of the beauty of growing older and maturing is not really caring what other people might think. When I taught the academic yoga courses at Florida Southern, one week would be devoted to teaching meditation. I would have the students walk in a single file line around the lake and simply take in nature. The purpose of the exercise was to try to detach the mind and incorporate a meditation in motion. In actuality, the true lesson was trying not to be self-conscious or concerned with others looking, judging and wondering. Most of them had a hard time with it, just as I did many years before when I was learning too. When we’d get back in the classroom, almost all of the students would share feelings of insecurity and discomfort. There were always those rare souls that quickly connected with the meditation, and almost plugged-in right away. They are the lucky ones. For the rest of us, we tend to struggle and resist the practice. The reason why is because, in any form, meditation is really, really hard. It takes time and patience, which we tend to lack, and that in itself is one of the reasons we need it SO much. My favorite teacher told me, “What you resist the most in your own yoga practice…you need the most” and nothing I have learned in all of my teachings is truer than that.
I went to school for quite a while to become a yoga teacher in 2006. I spent about two years dedicated to my training and am a RYT500. Though I love teaching, it does require time, and I truly want to spend as much of my time as possible with my son before he goes on to become a man in this world. I hope that I will have many years to teach…but I don’t have many years left parenting a young boy. Days will pass, and he will grow and off into the world he will go. My eyes water just thinking of that time in the near future, but I know that is the way it’s suppose to be. In the meantime, I maintain all of my certifications and teach the occasional class here or there, mostly on a volunteer basis. My training was in a few forms, but to be specific my RTY200 program was focused on Hatha and my RYT500 program was a blend of Kripalu and Iyengar. All forms have a similar emphasis on mediation. During all of my schooling and even in my teaching, meditation was and is such a huge part of the practice. Most people think that meditating requires sitting in the lotus position with the hands in some sort of mudra, with OM’s, silence, etc. When in reality, anytime you are able to focus the mind on any one thing, you are meditating. When you are able to silence the “mental chatter” or “quiet the mental monkey”, that is meditation. Something that works for me, might not work for you and visa-versa. It’s a very personal practice, which is unique to each of us. Learning can be very hard, but once grasped, it quickly becomes the greatest gift.
Which brings me to photography. It’s soothing and distracting, which in turn is relaxing and calming. I’ve been a yoga teacher for almost 10 years now and I surprised myself by finding a new form of my own practice. That’s so exciting to me! It’s proves that we are forever changing, growing, learning and evolving into more refined versions of ourselves, every day. And, it’s such an adventure! Every time I head out with my camera in tow, I get to look at the world with different eyes. Eyes that are clearer and have the ability to see things that I often overlook. I never know what I might find and I think that’s the part that most fun. It’s like a scavenger hunt that never ends.