When the weight of the move started to squeeze in on me a bit, I asked my soul sister to write an article for me so that I could use it for a week when I couldn’t quiiite get it together to write. I knew she’d come through for me — she’s one of those friends. But what she wrote about? You guys. You’re gonna love it. So human and so beautiful on every level, from how she came to her passion, to how she gives herself grace to how she realized she was over-using her phone.
“Cling to what you need. Let go of what you don’t”. Jen’s advice to me just today when we snuck away for a spa day and drank sparkling wine and swam and pretended like she didn’t have a 2:30pm leave time, and that I didn’t have a sore throat and million things I should’ve been home doing and packing. She’s the kind of friend that we can sit in our lounge chairs together and talk about anything or nothing, and who has already booked her trip to Austin.
By Jen Rochkind
Yoga gives me answers to questions I didn’t even know I had. For me, it’s like walking into a concert filled with anticipation and excitement only to be settled by the music which is that of my own breath and thoughts. With each movement guided by breath, my mind starts to calm and the “concert” starts to quiet. There’s a sense of peace and calm that takes over with every inhale and exhale.
The thing about yoga is there’s always more to learn. I’ve been practicing for about 20 years and teaching for almost three years. My practice first started as a form of exercise; a way to move my body without having to go to the gym. I don’t think I really understood the benefits of a consistent practice until many years after I began my journey.
Each time I step onto my mat to practice for myself or guide others, I learn something new about myself, my body and spirit. There’s a level of clarity each time. Like today, for example, I stepped onto my mat without a specific intention. I took a heated class with lots of humidity and I just wanted to breathe and sweat. I was able to accomplish that and so much more. My thoughts brought me to how often I’m using my phone. I was recently in the wilderness for a week without access to the internet. It was glorious and I discovered that I didn’t miss Instagram or the constant “swish” of text notifications. It was amazing to unplug and reset. The same benefits I receive each time I practice yoga. It’s lovely to step away from my phone and into my practice for a solid hour and leave behind what’s happening outside of the room. That nothing “really happens” while I’m away and there are no urgent items that I need to attend to.
This is one realization that came across my thought patterns as I breathed in the heated space. The other is that my dear friend and creator of this blog @politeasfudge is moving in just a couple of days. The realization of this hit me hard today. I’m going to miss her so much, from our lunches to date nights, to play dates and the quick car ride between our houses. I’ll miss her strong spirit, her constant support and beautiful advice, her kids and hubby and our time together so much! As I moved through the postures guided by the instructor, I breathed through all of these thoughts and found comfort on my mat. I may have even cried a little in the hip opener (our hips are our emotional storage area) while I reflected on our close friendship. I know that the distance won’t matter and we will still be there for each other. I already have a plane ticket booked for a visit! All this while practicing yoga 🙏.
Practicing and/or teaching yoga is very common in Los Angeles. A few years back my youngest was starting pre-school and as a stay-at-home mom (and former school teacher), I was looking for my next “job.” I approached teacher training as a way to delve deeper into my practice and to learn more of the history of yoga and its benefits. Through the process, I learned that and so much more. One of the biggest lessons was to not take myself so seriously. Taking myself a little too seriously was something I had done for many years and was very, very good at. Almost a habit. It took a lot of practice for me to laugh at my mistakes, smile while I was leading a group of yogis and to be more comfortable in my own skin. I continue to work on remembering that I’m human, to laugh at the small stuff and to not take myself so seriously all of the time. As a teacher of yoga, I try to bring some of the lessons I’ve learned to my students and to share what’s happening in my life when we set an intention at the beginning of class or through the poses I’ve connected together in a sequence. My intention is always to take my students through a 60-minute meditative journey where they can work out “stuff” on their mats. Teaching yoga is something that I really enjoy and I truly love to continue to learn more about yoga and myself.
Ultimately my yoga mat is a safe haven. Where I can work through something or nothing, let everything go and simply breathe. When I practice the poses and my breath, it makes it easier for me to be more present in my life off of my mat. It reminds me to remain calm in times of stress and to come back to my breath when I’m feeling anxious, sad or unsettled. Yoga is a lifelong journey that grounds me and helps me connect to my mind, body, and spirit.
Thanks, @politeasfudge for having me as a guest on your blog today! I wish you safe travels and an easy transition. Remember that yoga is magic and allow it to be your guide both on and off of your mat.
PS. (from Mandy) — Here’s Jen’s website if you need more of her yogi-ness like I do! She does in home yoga instruction as well as group instruction.