Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Yoga And The Art of Body/Mind Maintenance
Every day I give gratitude for yoga, especially today when I gave my son on the morning of his 38th birthday a yoga class. This is the second time he asked me to give him a class since I have been spending the week with my family. Yesterday, my daughter in law also asked me for a class. They are both awesome yogis.
Years ago, when my life seemed to be in a downward tumble, my son and to-be daughter-in-law asked me one Sunday to go to their favorite yoga studio to practice with them. I was beside myself with glee. Because I was living in Venice at the time behind Muscle Beach, I had been practicing at my gym down at the Marina. It was a small class and not very inspiring but it was yoga nonetheless. But to practice with my family made me really happy.
Thus began a ritual of Sunday practices either at Maha Yoga in Brentwood (where I now live - really west LA next door to Westwood and UCLA campus) or in Venice at Yoga Works where our favorite yoga teacher gave a class that could kill a decathlon athlete. We would come out of the studio, sweating and exhilarated, and go to a favorite breakfast place on Main Street and talk about the what was on our minds at the time. It was a simple moment in our lives and we don't have that kind of simplicity much any more.
My second son and his wife are also yogis. Although they don't practice much anymore, their hearts are opened and they spread the positive joy. My intention is to give all of them together a yoga class in the not too distant future.
The lives of my adult children and their wives are so much more complicated and stressful at this moment than I could have possibly imagined. I thought I'd be sailing over smooth waters at 66, but I am still that parent that my sons rely on to give emotional and psychological support. I am hitched mentally to their well being and their happiness as they try to put one foot in front of another and live their lives to the best of their ability. Both the men and the women in my family are terrific parents, devoted, loving, embracing and understanding and I am extremely proud of them as divine beings and professionals.
But what yoga adds to their lives is extraordinary and they are well aware of yoga's benefits. The birthday boy just left the house this morning telling me how fantastic he feels, how clear and joyful is the beginning of his day. He went out the door playing "Tool" feeling positive and hopeful. The success of my family rests on his shoulders.
Yoga is a mind/body experience that is connected by breath. In Sanskrit, the word breath is prana or life force and it is considered sacred. Yoga is a practice that creates joy and a positive attitude; it centers the self by emptying the mind, for it is truly a meditation whether the yogi is moving or siting in silence. Yoga/meditation has an impact on the way we think (more positive) and the way we feel (more joyous). It gives the body more energy as it speaks to the spiritual center of our being. If this is the gift I can give to my children, I am content and fulfilled. Nothing else matters.
(The divine in me recognized the divine in you)
Happy Birthday, Jonathan