I teach a movement class every Tuesday at 6:00 AM from the Yogalution Studio here in Long Beach. On this day I walked into an empty studio as the classes are all done on Zoom. The room is big enough for 40 students with curtained windows facing the street. The lights, normally dim, today are bright enough to provide a decent image on the camera. I am in the Studio alone with my iPad, head set, yoga mat and the ghosts of all my teachers. The walls are reddish/brown with a 6-foot tall circular mandala painted in gold on the wall behind me. Pandora provides new age music to fill the space between my teachings. New age music has been described as music that you cannot tell when it starts and when it stops. Two candles are burning to remind me of the fire that is needed for expression and communication. Years ago, I was told by a Daguerre Shama that while the North, East and West directions of my soul were well connected to Great Spirit, I had no South connection in me. South is where the fire of life gets expressed. He went on and on telling me my gifts would not get more than 2 feet from me because of the lack of fire in my spiritual constitution. My task, he said, was to cultivate a relationship with fire this lifetime.
Hence, the candles burning.
At age 73 the term “lifetime” is a moot point. I may have already done it, this lifetime thing. In the great quest for attracting attention I have reached the stage of “so what”. My task may now be to offer attention, pay attention, use the powers of observation and acknowledgement to wash over other people. Attention is required for all life to grow. Babies need touch and love to survive. Maybe we do too. Ultimately all life, plants and animals need the attention of the Sun. We need the attention of our parents, friends, lovers, teachers and mentors to grow and flourish. The first part of my life was to attract attention; now, not so much is needed. Most attempts to attract attention are for validation or competing for mating privileges. Or sometimes to avoid mating privileges. All of my presentations have been some kind of quest for validation of my inner needs, whether I was willing to admit or not.
So in many Senior years, now, I work at directing my attention toward others. Mostly my patients.
However, my big question remains, have I lived up to or down to my Mother’s expectations.
I think she was more interested in me being President than me teaching others to sit in a full Lotus position. Probably not her wishes but what I interpreted in my childish ways…she just loved me.
As I prepare to begin the class of movement and breathing I am careful to not call it “yoga”. “Yoga”, like Christian and Jew have so many different conflicting expressions it is totally impossible to adequately describe any of the three with one word.
So I breathe deep and ask my students, via the iPad and Zoom program, to place their attention and awareness in the bottom of their feet and feel their weight in gravity against the mat, floor, foundation of the building, bedrock, and into this giant dirtball we call Earth flying through space and teeming with life. Get grounded in right here, right now and breathe deep of the earthen atmosphere that we are so much a part of.
This teeming of life that we are a part of requires that each life form eat another life form to survive…and we get to move, breathe, live, love and die like all the other teeming lives here on the dirt ball.
My vegan friends tend to cringe when I make note of our need to eat other life. Even broccoli has feelings after all.
Ah well, I call it Morning Movement and Breathing and I love it. I begin the 45 minutes of moving and breathing, then afterward we sit quietly and allow our sensory awareness to take over….
Right here and now we focus only on what we can sense in our own bodies.
All my other troubles disappear for a time.
It’s way cool.