Tim from the Chair Yoga class at Gleason YMCA has been practicing to participate in the Special Olympics for swimming. Tim says Yoga has helped him concentrate on his training and kept him more flexible. Sunday was the try-out in Bridgewater. Tim completed a 50 meter in crawl to receive a silver medal and 50 meter in backstroke for a gold medal. This means Tim will be going to Boston in June! I am sure we will hear more about Tim's next steps.
This week we will be learning the Shankha Mudra or Shell. Shankha means counch shell. Shankha Mudra deals with safety, calming effect and clarity of speech. I also found a reference that said the Shankah Mudra is good for allergies! This is great for our present time!
I have attached a printout of the Shankh and Padma mudras. Click on "download file" below!
We talked in Chair Yoga about seeing signs of light in the darkness of the week of the Marathon bombings. There are more and more stories on TV of light, of compassion and caring. Channel 5 has been showing snippets they call "healing". Today I saw one of these snippets where one woman was reconnected with the 3 men who helped with her injuries, applying a tourniquet and caring for her. The light is in the stories of people wanting to buy a new boat for the man who found the younger brother in his boat (and the boat ended up full of bullet holes.) Darkness like that the brothers inflicted on Boston during the Marathon and during the week following aims to deflate us and bring us down. But darkness cannot overtake us if we don't let it. There is the story of the dancer who lost her foot during the bombing but has said on TV that she will not give up. She has not let the darkness take over her life. The light is us continuing on. We continue to be compassionate, loving, caring and reaching out to others...the opposite of the darkness.
John1:1-4 NIV "In the beginning was the Work, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." Jesus in the light in our darkness. We live through Jesus and live like him and darkness will not prevail.
This week in yoga week used the Lotus Flower Mudra or Padma Mudra. With all that we have experienced this week, the peace and compassion of this mudra seemed important. We also did the lotus breath during our initial time of breathing and centering.
Lotus breathing: Rest the backs of your hands on your thighs with palms up. Inhale and as you exhale, slowly bring the tips of your fingers together to form a bud. As you inhale, slowly open the bud into a flower. Repeat the opening and closing of your lotus flowers as you are comfortable. End your breathing by holding the Padma Mudra.
What a week here in the Boston area. We had the quick end to the Boston Marathon with the explosion. Then the suspects from the explosion shot a police officer and shot it out with police. It has been so surreal...like from a movie. I have tried to look for the light amongst the dark all week. I heard a great story about a runner. There where 2 runners talking post race. The man (from Alaska) asked the woman if she had finished the race. She had not because the bombing prevented her from actually crossing the finish line. The man took the medal from around his neck and handed it to the woman who had cheers of joy. So cool.
What stories have you heard that bring light to the darkness of this past week?
This is a Marathon that I will never forget. I have been volunteering with the Red Cross since 1984 as a member of a first aide station along the Marathon Route. Never thought I would see this day happen...people injured because someone with a dark soul had to try to spread the darkness to others. Never thought I would have to abandon my station because of a possible bomb.
But through it all, we saw people step up, help and do what was needed to treat the injured and keep others safe. I watched my own crew tear down our site while taking care of some 30 runners we were asked to block from continuing down to Boston. My crew stayed and made sure the runners were safe, had blankets and drink even though by all rights they could have left.
Many lives were changed today for a variety of reasons. I hope after all the "dust" settles, the good w
Today at Stretch and Flex water aerobics one of our long time participants returned to the pool. It was great to see Marge. Apparently Marge hurt her hip and has been heeling. Today she was with her daughter who was taking 2 weeks vacation and helping her mom to get re-acclimated to the water. As Marge left the pool, I asked Marge to turn and face the class. The whole class waved and Marge beamed saying "I'm back!" Thank you everyone for being so welcoming to Marge. You are a great example of a supportive community and of ahimsa.
Wednesday was a day that pointed me to how adaptable yoga can be. After Chair Yoga class I bumped into Tim doing some exercise in the next room. Tim was practicing some exercises on his knees. Tim, who moves around in a wheel chair, can "stand" on his knees like I can on my feet. It's painful to me to watch him! So we tried some of the standing postures with Tim on his knees! We decided next class, we will put a mat in front of Tim's chair so Tim can 'stand' and do the standing postures instead of in his chair.
After I finished talking with Tim, I bumped into Jackie in the locker room. Jackie has attended the Chair Yoga class and the "laid back yoga" class. Jackie has MS that causes her right leg to be uncooperative. Neither class seemed to work for Jackie. I began our conversation by asking if Jackie had tried the adaptive yoga class she had found. Jackie said she had not. Somehow the conversation turned to me demonstrating how Jackie could use a chair to support her while doing standing poses. I saw a light dawn in Jackie. She said that the chair had just been a thing to do yoga in not part of the yoga poses. Jackie was so excited to go home and try yoga again making the chair part of her poses.
I have always wanted to bring yoga to everyone. I learned a lot from my conversations with Tim and Jackie and felt very encouraged.
Last Saturday Kathy and I went to a meditation retreat. We had a good time. During the afternoon meditation time, the lady next to me began to cough. It was a bit distracting as I was trying to picture the sky and clouds as the monk had guided us. As the coughing lady walked away and to the bathroom, I realized that instead of being annoyed, I could be praying for her. So, I prayed, even as the lady kept coughing. I began to realize she must have been frustrated and probably embarrassed. So I prayed with earnest. The lady finally did stop coughing and rejoined us. After the time of meditation as over, the monk encouraged us to share our experience with our neighbors. I talked with my neighbor making sure she was ok. She appreciated the prayers and said she was better. In the end, my neighbor and I had a better experience because I had compassion for my neighbor instead of annoyance.
I enjoy yoga as it brings peace to my life. Teaching yoga has brought joy to my life and given me a chance to encourage others in learning yoga.