By Louise Applebome
It’s not unusual to find me on the yoga mat at just about any time of the day.
If I’m teaching a class, the start and stop times are fixed. But for my personal practice, I’m not ruled by the clock. Perhaps I’m on the mat for an hour. Perhaps two. Or maybe thirty minutes or five. And just because I thought I needed only one downward-facing dog doesn’t mean my body or heart or soul doesn’t tell me otherwise, and that more time, poses, meditation, and/or breathwork are in order. On any trip to the yoga mat, I try to follow my instincts and settle into a groove. And these things are hard and futile to try to predict. I think the more we practice yoga the more adept we become at finding our natural rhythm and pulse and what we need.
If I’m not on the yoga mat, you can likely find me in the kitchen. Maybe music is playing to put an extra spring in my prep steps. Or maybe I need quiet. Maybe it’s the percussive sounds of the knife on the cutting board that my ears yearn to hear. Again, it’s not something I can foretell. I just have to go with the flow and remain open to the possibilities. Yoga in action in the kitchen. Tapping, tuning in.
Kitchen activity might be meal prep. It might be sitting down to a meal. True confession: I rarely miss a meal. I sit and eat three delicious (and hopefully healthy) meals every day. Since COVID and isolation protocols, most of those meals are eaten in my home. Cooking and composing meals is therapeutic for me. Without it, my groove would surely lose traction.
If I’m not in the kitchen, I might be reading. I can while away an afternoon with a good book. And, I’ve been hooked on Anthony Trollope’s novels from the nineteenth century which I listen to on audio tape. They’ve kept me riveted since early on in the pandemic, and sixteen or seventeen books later I think I’m finally ready to adopt a favorite new audio author. I hadn’t planned to get hooked on Trollope. I hadn’t forecasted the number of Trollope books to read. I just went with the pleasure, joy, and flow. And with just about one hour of listening time left in “Orley Farm,” it appears now that my groove includes exploring new writers. I’ve liked the continuity of series of books by the same author, but am not sure what’s up next. The prospect and mystery of it all are very exciting to me.
Writing also fits into my groove. Maybe it’s for a blog. Maybe it’s related to a volunteer project. Maybe it’s in my journal. Once again, there’s not a fixed schedule for journal entries. I write when the spirit moves me. It could be a few lines. Or maybe it’s twenty pages. I’d rather not be fenced in. But I can generally count on an emotion or a memory to emerge and to matter. And, chances are, I’ll have found solutions to problems, too.
Then there has to be time for walking out in the neighborhood. It’s not that I’ll gossip with anyone about what I observe, but inquiring minds (mine!) like to see who’s updating their interior or yard and who’s moving in or out. Political yard signs instantly align me with some of my neighbors or encourage me to be tolerant and accepting just at the moment I’m formulating negative perceptions about others. The length and routes of my walks are negotiable, too. A beautiful day might inspire a longer walk. Spotting a red-tailed hawk will, too. This is not reading time for me. No phone. It’s taking in the sights and the sounds all around me that gets me jazzed.
Back inside, my yoga studio doubles as a dance studio where my flow might have me rockin’ to the latest Taylor Swift hits or glissading across the room to Chopin. Horses for courses, as they say. I follow my moods whenever I can to mine free and creative expression…improvisation. Often not ready for prime time. But, whether on the yoga mat or dancing with abandon, it’s about what’s going on on the inside, not what others see, think or judge. It’s all about inner, organic flow.
Granted, not everyone has a yoga/dance studio in their home or the flexibility to spend two hours on the yoga mat in the middle of the day. And maybe your flow includes parenting and grandparenting duties or taking care of elderly parents. But the key is to find your flow and your groove, weaving together what’s important to you in your life in doses and installments that fit your pulse and your rhythm. Hopefully, laughter and big grins find their way into the flow, too.
Essentially, it comes back down to finding the “yoga,” balance, flow, and inner connection during the course of your day. And, if you’re still recuperating from the big crowd you hosted for Thanksgiving and girding yourself for a frenetic holiday season, honoring your unique groove, with reverence, may be especially important as the year comes to a close.
Louise Applebome, 68, is a Certified Yoga Instructor in Dallas. After “retiring” from a vibrant and varied professional career, she became a yoga teacher. She teaches all her classes on Zoom right now and accepts students, young or older, from wherever they are, both geographically and in their pursuit of a yoga practice. Louise will help you stay fit and flexible, and release tension, aches & pains from the body…and the mind. Her yoga studio in Dallas is del norte yoga. You can reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.