Sunday, March 6, 2011

Welcome Waxwings. Bring & Buy at the Yoga Space

A long-time writer and reviewer I consider these notes and thoughts as a weekly column, similar to the ones I’ve written on the arts for weekly newspapers and various magazines.

Writing isn’t as much a significant part of my current life as I'd wish. Each week I teach 10 yoga classes, with varying levels, lengths and needs, including my ‘Warrior Women’ class – Yoga for ladies fighting and surviving breast cancer. Friday is ‘my’ day, which usually means I end up spending several hours planning the following week’s classes, sometimes having a massage or meeting a friend for a chai or hot chocolate if I’m lucky, and there isn’t a snowstorm.

This past week our garden was enlivened by new visitors. Joining the pheasants, mourning doves, chickadees and the squirrel was a flock of waxwings. They may have been Bohemian waxwings, but more probably Cedar waxwings.

They clustered in our cherry tree so I wasn’t able to get a clear photograph, but used one from our bird book. With their beautifully made up mask-like eyes, and tufted crest, like a punk’s gelled spike of hair, they put me in mind of ultra high fashion models, straight off the runways in Paris. All bright and perky they made me smile and feel joyful.

A Yoga studio probably isn’t the first place you think of for a ‘swap shop’ or ‘bring and buy’.   Actually I call mine Blue Lotus Yoga Space; space, an open area where people come to find space for themselves in busy lives, to create space within themselves, where they can breath, stretch, flow, balance, twist, relax and meditate.

For me yoga is so much more than just the postures.  It’s about how we live. I encourage students to take what we do in class off their mats and into their lives. This session we are studying the Yamas and Niyamas, the guidelines we use to create a foundation on which to build and grow a practice. Yamas guide our relationships with others; Niyamas help to organize our inner lives.

One Yama, Aparigraha, is non-possessiveness. Ancient yogis believed “All the things of the world are yours to use, but not to own.”

Today, while agreeing more and more, we think of it in terms of non-attachment, non-greed. Of not accumulating ‘things, of using what is in the world for their intended purpose, without feeling we own them or are owned by them.  This means living simply, possessing only what is necessary. Being satisfied with what you have; not hoarding things for ‘the future’ or that you no longer need. Accumulations can tie you down.

From this I’m inviting students to bring unwanted, not used, small items to our space. If someone sees a possible need, use for or a gift, they ‘buy’ the item by making a donation. I’m committed to take ‘unsold’ items to one or two local charities at the end of this session. After next session we will donate money raised to a similar organization.  It’s a way of de-cluttering, recycling, benefitting others and living your yoga.

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