Monday, September 28, 2009

Horse Agenda, Human Agenda...

Today, a Monday, is usually Gary's day off. He plays in the arena with his buds, hangs out, no riders, no yoga students. Gary is a horse, btw. But, horse fuzz coat time is coming and we wanted to get in a photo shoot of his changed topline, and maybe some photos and video of us riding.

That was our agenda. Gary had something else in mind, as he fussed about standing, was not interested in looking pretty for the camera (drooling his 'chaw' of stolen alfalfa), and just looking askance at us. Oh well. I got on anyway, even though the next shift of playing horses were playing hard, squealing, raising dust and running the fence.

That's when things began to get a little strange. We played yoga pose / counterpose, which actually went great (more on that when I get the photos). Then things began to get still, and I sensed Gary asking me for more and yet more stillness. I commented to Stacey that I did not feel as velcroed as I have been lately. She asked me where the velcro was. As I went into my body, I began to feel a racing, a discomfort, at the area of the diaphragm, at the origin of the psoas. Ah, would breath help here? I changed my breathing, and I could feel almost nauseous. So I cried, and then cried some more, and then Gary walked off and we walked it off and he went back to his day off and I went back to my day.

Why was it necessary for me to cry? Maybe I'll find that out, maybe not. That wasn't the point. It just needed to happen, to free that internal constriction, to find my velcro.

Monday, September 21, 2009

WitGit: Where is the Grace in This?

Stuff happens.

Big Stuff, like losing a beloved companion, losing work.

Small stuff, like unexpected auto repairs, new equipment that doesn't work, my underwear losing it's elastic while I'm teaching in front of a class of people who actively dislike the material being taught (yes, that actually happened, and not long ago).

Where is the grace in this?

I find if I ask this question, I might manage a little half-smile, can take a bit of an exhale, and make a choice not to berate myself or slip into the tyranny of the shoulds. If you try it, let me know how it works.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Yoga with Horses

With the advent of cooler weather, Stacey Kollman and I are again offering our introductory mini-retreat: Horse-Assisted Yoga for Personal Transformation. You can read more at Stacey's site. .

Yoga with horses is a little hard to describe, it's so deeply experiential, and unique to each person. It's a bit paradoxical, these large intelligent creatures so present and so skilled at the art of subtle nuance.   You can see a bit of yoga with horses on my Facebook photo wall. 

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Yoga off the Mat

Recently, many of my yoga students have mentioned how they don't seem to have much success at coming to the peaceful state that they reach in yoga class when 'out amongst the English' (with a nod to Harrison Ford's character, John Book, in Peter Weir's film, Witness).

What is it about being in a yoga class and how can we find our way into that state when, oh, say, sitting at a stoplight behind that person texting on their cell phone?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Helping Horses

It's a gray morning with the promise of rain in the distance and in the unmistakable air of creosote.  This is the kind of morning we in the desert love as a treat. It would be a good morning to indulge in coffee and newspaper and sad, without our Gilly. 

But. It's also a day where I have commitments; I have a class in Sanskrit to attend and there's Gary, one of my horse partners in Desert Horse Yoga, who could probably use some time to just hang out. 

Heading to the round pen, it's freshly turned, so no horse poops to smell and revel in, but it's soft and new. Gary rounds and rounds, nose to the ground, searching for his perfect spot. He finds it and down he goes, rolling on to his spine, turning from side to side, getting in three good spinal massages. He comes up easily, braces in the front, legs splay and he shakes from head to tail. 

He strolls to the gate, picks at the lead rope, time to move on. So we go to the grassy area (quite the premium out here in the desert) and he gets in some good grass munching time before it's time to leave.  How is it that just these horsey moments reach into the sadness in the cave of the heart, provide a little comfort? 


Saturday, September 5, 2009

It doesn't get any easier...

Today is Day 5 - marking the days from when we put our beloved Gilly to permanent sleep.
These passings don't get easier, no matter what I tell myself, no matter what others say. Each passing reminds me once again of all the others; little bitty Rogue, Baraka, Julep, Jasmine, Koda, Tsuki, Circe, Dallas,Sara, Janie, Otto, Ziggy,Midnight, Bob, Sherlock.
Gilly's death was dignified and quiet. The housecall vet, Alan Christo, was quiet and unobtrusive. I held her head, and there was that moment when she relaxed and was once again comfortable, doing what she loved best - sleeping. Om shanti, Gilly, Om shanti to all our animal friends.