29 April 2008

Grounded by the big, blue sky

This weekend I was blessed with a visit from a childhood friend of mine from Alaska. She was in town for a wedding- wanting to get together and ideally get off of The Strip for a few hours. Happy to oblige and at her request, we went on a yoga hike at Red Rock Canyon with a local studio that I didn't even know existed.   

The studio, Blue Sky Yoga, is located at the Arts Factory down in the "up and coming" arts district.  Coincidentally, I found out that it's owned by one of my very first yoga instructors and the yoga hike was lead by her husband, Cory.  I can't wait to check out their classes!  

Their philosophy is that yoga should be available to all- so the classes are by "donation only," where you pay what you can afford.  How great is that?  I have to admit, the studio I was going to definitely had more of a "corporate" feel to it and it has always bothered me that the packages expire within 3 months. Even though I love my teacher Rachael, I'd be more than happy to give Blue Sky a chance.

At any rate, we got up to Red Rock and unbeknownst to me- all of the wildflowers were in bloom. It was absolutely beautiful! In the ten years that I've lived here, I'd never seen it like that. 

We met up with the group and hiked back to a sandy area hidden amongst the trees. This was my first time doing yoga outside and I cannot stress how amazing it was. Between the gorgeous backdrop of red and white rocks, the birds chirping and the gentle breeze, I felt better than I have in months. 

In fact, I hadn't even practiced yoga since December! At the time, things were so busy with Christmas, the children's birthdays, and the huge Chicago wedding, I figured I'd take a little break from it. I was running sporadically and biking with the children, but nothing that helped ground me the way that yoga does.  Sadly, so much time had elapsed that I hadn't even realized what was missing!

As I transitioned from pose to pose, I began to realize how off-track my life has been these past few months. I don't think it had even dawned on me that I wasn't nurturing my body in the way that I usually do. And yet it all seemed so clear out there under the vast blue sky. Instead of taking the time to breathe and relax in the stillness, I was drinking too much and not getting enough sleep.  I've been stressed with work and the general busy-ness of life- not to mention that my immune system has been the worst that it has been in years.  I had definitely taken the less healthy route for stress reduction!

It became very clear that things started to go awry when I quit taking that time for myself and my yoga practice.  I know that for me, it is what keeps me sane and healthy.  I truly believe we all can attain that same feeling of rootedness- the intense joy from being relaxed and re-awakened simultaneously, whether it be through yoga, exercise, spirituality or meditation.

I am just so happy I figured out where I had derailed and what it will require for me to get back on solid ground.

Sometimes it takes standing outside, surrounded by nature and just listening within to find the answers that you seek. And half of the time you didn't even know you were looking for them!

And so my journey continues; that same mantra that 180/360 stood for from the beginning- of trying to find that perfect balance in life. I'm starting to realize though, that the key may not lie in actually finding balance, but more so in knowing what it takes for you to try.


Jill - GlossyVeneer said... [Reply to comment]

I've always thought that an outdoor yoga practice sounds so wonderful and I thought it was something I would probably only find at some fancy retreat or spa. That's awesome that you got to experience this.

And I'm glad that you got the chance to rediscover something to balance you. My yoga practices lately have been so powerful, even though they're just in my overcrowded bonus room. I can only imagine how blissful this must have been.

And thanks for the tip on Blue Sky Yoga. I'm going to check out their site right now.

Sizzle said... [Reply to comment]

That sounds like a wonderful experience. I have been thinking a lot about taking up yoga again. I don't know why I am not just DOING it. I desperately need that groundedness.

180/360 said... [Reply to comment]

Jill- You have got to try it! Even if you just take your mat out in your backyard.

Sizzle- It was wonderful. Hope you can get grounded soon. :)

gorillabuns said... [Reply to comment]

Beautifully and insightfully written.

I can't imagine practicing yoga in the open with nothing but space, air, peace and quiet. Sounds like a retreat I would take quite often if available.

Jason said... [Reply to comment]

Wow. I've never done yoga, but you make it seem like exactly what I need.

Beautiful post.

Theresa said... [Reply to comment]

Am I a weinie because this made me cry? What a beautiful story with photos to match. Balance is such a powerful mantra. The great thing is no matter how long you've been unbalanced, all it takes is a slight shift to find your center again.

punchlinewalking said... [Reply to comment]

Theresa- for some reason it made me cry too...those pictures are just so beautiful!

I'm so happy for you- what an amazing experience.

kerrianne.org said... [Reply to comment]

I LOVE this idea. And those pictures are so beautiful.

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