A few weeks ago, I was talking to a yoga teacher friend of mine about how dizzy I got during a couple of yoga classes. I mentioned to her that when I stopped to observe myself during the poses, I noticed that I was breathing quite deeply, but that those breaths felt forced, not natural at all.
She recommended that instead of focusing so much on my breath that I just observe my breath. She told me to just step back and let my body do what it wanted to do naturally, and not to make myself inhale and exhale on command.
So, I did. At my last two yoga classes, and during some of my home practice, I let go of everything that I had been doing in the past and just allowed my body to breathe on its own.
The first thing that I noticed was that I was *still* inhaling and exhaling during certain movements. I tried to withdraw a bit and reminded myself not to force the breath, but just to gently observe.
What I discovered while quietly observing was that there are certain movements that I make during poses where I can't help but inhale or exhale. The body wants to do those things naturally when making these movements, apparently, or at least, my body wants to do those inhales and exhales naturally. All I need to do is pay attention and be mindful of my movements, and my body will do what it needs/wants to do naturally.
It made me think a little bit more about how yoga is like beading. It's an active, mindful meditation that requires you let go of everything in order to get the most out of it. For me, yoga gets me in touch with who I really am. Just like with beading, in order to design great art, you need to know who you are and not be afraid to express yourself.
Which leads me to my next venture... At yoga class the other night, as the instructor and I were talking, she told me that she and her husband own a place called The Hostel in Keene Valley. It's nestled right in the heart of the High Peaks here in the Adirondack mountains, and it's going to make the perfect venue for the first Adirondack Spirit Bead Retreat.
We're still working on the details like dates, but right now, we're planning on a small, intimate retreat (no more than 15 attendees) who want to come together to explore some gentle yoga and easy meditation techniques to see how these activities can impact their creativity. My sweet friend Beki is going to bring Whimbeads to us here in New York (because we gotta have seed beads at a bead retreat, right?), and I'm looking into two possible caterers to serve us fresh, local, organic, healthy meals.
So, if you're interested in learning more about how the mind-body connection can improve your creativity and improve your life, stay tuned for more details!