Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Stunning Clouds

Yoga Update (5/16-5/22/11)

Picture me doing a happy dance: I’m done with my 40 Days of Yoga!  Cha cha cha!  The project officially started on March 18, and I did my final yoga session on May 22, so it took me about two months to practice yoga 40 times in the context of this project.  I’m really quite relieved that it’s done, not because I hate yoga, but because I grew tired of feeling like I must do yoga because I made it into something more structured and public than it usually is for me.

Yoga has always been a way for me to unwind, physically, mentally, and emotionally.  This project taught me that in order for yoga to feel restorative, I need to let it fit into the nooks and crannies of my life.  Otherwise, it feels like another item on my to-do list, and that takes away from its more pleasurable qualities.  This was a valuable lesson for me and one that I will keep in mind in the future as I consider how I spend my fitness time.

I want to say more about the non-life-changing quality of this project, but I need to let my thoughts germinate a little more.  So I’ll come back to this topic after I have a chance to hash things out in writing.

Here’s how I spent my final week of the 40 Days of Yoga Project.  Apparently, I like yoga best when done in pajamas:

Monday (5/16): I take today off completely, as I am exhausted from all my weekend biking.

Tuesday (5/17): Hmm.  I don’t do yoga today either, and I don’t remember why.  Most likely it was the siren’s call of the kitchen, luring me with its drawers and cabinets stuffed with food.

Wednesday (5/18): I return to yoga in the form of a pajama-clad session before bed.

Thursday (5/19): After a long hiatus, I finally go running again (hurray!), and I do yoga immediately after my run.  I love post-run yoga—it’s always so refreshing and relaxing to slow down and stretch after a good run.

Friday (5/20): Tonight I do a wonderfully long pajama yoga session.  I’m not quite in the mood to do a yogadownload.com class, but I am in the mood for some yoga because I biked around quite a bit today and my legs feel tight.  I need some yoga to unwind those hardworking muscles!

Saturday (5/21): No yoga today, mostly because I’m feeling lethargic and a little overworked.  Instead, I spend part of the afternoon on my couch, reading and relaxing after a morning spent running errands and experiments.

Sunday (5/22): My final day of yoga as part of the project!  I do another long session of pajama yoga because again, the bike has tightened up my legs, and I want to unwind and relax before bed.  Oh, bed…surely if I could do more than the reclining yoga postures in bed, I would do my whole yoga session in bed. 

So that’s that!  40 Days of Yoga finished in well over 40 days.  Normally I fancy myself as able to meet deadlines, but it turns out that I don’t like to put the words “yoga” and “deadline” in the same sentence.  In tandem, they form such a paradox that my head starts to implode.  Thanks for reading while I downward-dog and wheel-pose my way toward a calmer, quieter mind.  I’ll be back with my final thoughts on this project…hopefully sooner rather than later.  Until then, namaste!

Monday, May 23, 2011


Hi, folks.  This is Rose-Anne’s yoga mat, and she’s dispatched me over here to tell you that she’s busy tonight watching Grey’s Anatomy and eating brownies.  It’s part of her yoga practice, she says, but I have my doubts.  Anyways, she says she’ll be back tomorrow, but in the meantime, she sends a pretty picture for you to see.  That’s what this blog is about: yoga, running, biking, and pretty pictures.


Whoosh!  Aren’t those clouds cool?

See you on the mat, dear readers!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Burritos and Bikes, with a Few Thoughts on Community

Bike Burrito and Me


Friday’s “Ride Your Bike to Chipotle and Get a Free Burrito Day.”  Sponsored by Chipotle (5/20/11)

Despite the terrible humidity on Friday, I braved the afternoon heat to ride my bike over to Chipotle for a free burrito.  I was not brave enough to face the lunch crowd, and I wasn’t sure if I’d be done with my morning lab stuff in time to get lunch at Chipotle.  Instead, I went over around 2 PM to pick up a burrito to eat for my afternoon snack or for dinner later that day.

The restaurant wasn’t crowded when I arrived, and I saw that they had posted an announcement for their Free Burrito Day on Friday.  Sadly, though, my burrito-maker told me that they did not get a lot of bike traffic for their Free Burrito Day.  I wondered if it was simply a lack of promotion—I only knew about the event because someone had contacted me by e-mail to see if I’d be willing to spread the word via my blog(s).  And I felt kinda guilty too—maybe I should have posted something on my food blog?  I only shared the information on this blog because it seemed like a better fit.

It warms my bike-loving heart whenever I see people bike-commuting around College Station.  Even if Chipotle’s turnout wasn’t huge, I’m happy to see a restaurant in town declaring itself pro-bike by offering something delicious to bike commuters.  College Station is a car-heavy town, and it can be tough to be an environmentalist in a place that seems to care so little about green issues.  The state of Texas is notoriously lackadaisical when it comes to green living; the state’s long history of oil production has saturated the attitudes of its people.  But I remain committed to my belief in low-carbon footprints, and to me, using your own two legs to get around town is one of the best ways to stay fit and live green.  I feel a sense of solidarity when I see other people on bikes because it takes numbers to raise awareness and to make a community a bike-friendly one.  I’d like to think that bike love in College Station is only going to increase as gas prices continue to fluctuate and people realize all the terrific advantages that bike-riding offers them…even in Texas.

PS  I should mention that Chipotle didn’t sponsor me personally to write this post.  They gave me a free burrito for riding my bike to the restaurant on Friday, but there was no additional incentive to write this post or to advertise their Free Burrito Day.  I just happen to like Chipotle a lot!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Despite the Silence

Bike with Much-Loved Tree

Bike with Shadow

Cycling in New Wedges

Lately: Frequent Bike Commuting and Thursday’s Short Run (5/14–5/19/11)

Happy Friday, lovely readers!  I know it’s been quiet around here lately.  It’s because I’m writing quite frequently for my food blog from now through June 11 for Veg Bootcamp.  I’m still cycling around town as usual, and I’m trying to finish my 40 Days of Yoga, but I hope you’ll pardon me if my posts here on Feels Like Flying are a little less frequent than usual.

This week feels like it was long and busy, so I am grateful to be writing to you from Friday night, with a weekend ahead of me during which I plan to catch my breath and try to slow down.  I’ll be biking into work as usual, but still, I have this hope for a weekend that feels lazy and luxurious nonetheless.  Last weekend, I biked to work on Saturday and Sunday, then took a bike break on Monday.  I biked again on Tuesday or Wednesday—I actually can’t remember which day it was!  I must be getting old.  And on Thursday, I desperately needed a run, so I seized the moment and went for a short 10-minute run on a different out-and-back running route.  It was…interesting.  There were no sidewalks, and I’m afraid there were just too many cars for my taste.  My favorite running loop remains unchallenged in its superiority.  I like it because it’s perfect for 30-minute runs, and it’s a quite and peaceful neighborhood.

I biked to work again today, and it was ridiculously humid.  I was dripping with sweat when I got to work—same thing when I rode home.  On the return trip, however, fat splashes of rain started falling from the sky.  Just a few, enough to leave their wet fingerprints on my dress.  We desperately need more rain, and yet it feels like the sky is holding onto the moisture, like some greedy sponge.  For now, I see occasional threads of lightning lacing the night sky, but the ground remains dry.  I am waiting for rain. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Public Service Announcement

Are you hungry?  In College Station?  Yeah, me too.  Let’s ride our bikes to Chipotle on Friday for this:


Thank goodness for Friday!  And for Bike-to-Work Week.  Did you ride to work this morning?  I did.  But if you didn’t, you’ve still got two more days this week to join the fun this week.

Pedal on, friends!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Back in the Saddle

Trees Doing Yoga

Yoga Update (5/9-5/15/11)

Matt loves to use ranching metaphors, even though he corrals words more often than hooved creatures, and I have to say, it’s kind of addictive.  I may have been raised in the Midwest and get a little nervous if a horse starts moving faster than a slow saunter, but still, the American dream of moving West, of working with my hands and making a living off the land runs deep in my psyche.  I’m sure that my choice of reading, a book about rural Utah, a land that was settled by ranchers and Mormons (among others), is influencing me, but still, I find the ranching metaphors charming.

So: back in the saddle I am!  And by saddle, I mean yoga mat.  And by yoga mat, I mean no disrespect to any real ranchers out there.  I’m just having fun with words.

I’m getting really, really close to the end of this project, which started on March 18, almost two months ago.  During the course of the project, I’ve learned a thing or two about myself, namely that doing more yoga is not going to make me feel more balanced.  However, sitting in front of the pool while sipping something cool and reading a book can help restore an otherwise awful day.  Yoga does improve my sleep quality, and that reason alone is good enough for me.

As these last few days of the project wind down, I wanted to finish up strong, so I did more yoga than last week, and I chose to do some formal classes, not just my DIY pajama yoga before bed.

Here’s my yoga week, in anally-retentive list form:

Monday (5/9): I do some pajama yoga before bed.  It was a super-busy weekend with tons of biking, and my legs are aching for some stretching, so this yoga feels terrific.

Tuesday (5/10): Tonight I fire up Morning Flow #1 on the ole laptop and enjoy backbending my way to a peaceful mind.

Wednesday (5/11): I don’t do yoga tonight.  I did ride the bike to and from work, but for some reason, I’m not in the mood for yoga.  Instead, I cook dinner and enjoy the sounds of our much-needed rainfall outside.

Thursday (5/12): Tonight I do another class, Gentle Hatha #1, which I realize is sort of the opposite of Morning Flow.  Where Morning Flow focuses on doing tons of backbends (and wheel pose!), Gentle Hatha #1 focuses on doing lots of forward bends.  After doing both classes in one week, I’m feeling very physically balanced!  Now, if only I didn’t have a habitual hunch, I’d have perfect posture.

Friday (5/13): Ooh, spooky!  Friday the 13th.  I play it safe by doing more pajama yoga.  Luckily, despite my klutziness, I manage to not injure myself.  Whew!

Saturday (5/14): The weekend bike commutes resume, and today I am feeling too lazy to do any yoga.  I seem to be fighting an infection, and today I wouldn’t have even gone into work except that I’ve got experiments going NOW that need my attention.  So I nudge myself to work, but otherwise I try to take it easy.

Sunday (5/15): Knowing how much better my sleep is after I do yoga, I do some pajama yoga before bed, trying to mentally ease myself into the work week.  The weekend has flown by, and I’m a little sad that Monday looms so close already.  This is what happens when you work every day of the week, dear reader: your already short weekend feels even shorter.  Oh well.  At least things are going well at work, science-wise.

* * *

Just four more days of my yoga project!  I’m so excited I could lay down in savasana right now.  Ahhh….have a groovy week, kind readers!

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Few Thoughts on a Thursday Evening

Bike with Pink Flowers

Pink Flower

Green Plant Closeup

Life on Two Wheels: Weekend Bike Commutes and Wednesday’s Bike Commute (5/7-5/8 and 5/11/11)

Bad news, guys: one of my roommates died.  I came home today to find a dead lizard right outside my front door, and it made me sad.  It may have died during the storm today—we’ve gone so long without rain that maybe my little reptile friend didn’t know how to handle himself in a deluge.  At any rate, I’m going to miss scaring the crap out of that lizard every time I leave or return home.  The poor thing always ran for cover whenever I was near, even though I’m about as friendly a human as a lizard is going to find.  I’m a vegetarian who likes wildlife!  Besides, I don’t even like lizard meat.  It’s too gamey.

This week has blown past me.  It’s been a whirlwind of days spent in front of a microscope or a computer, which is to say that I’ve been productive at work and things are going well.  These days, I am a data-generating machine, which is very good indeed if your goal is to crank out a paper and/or a grant efficiently.  In between data-collecting sessions, I’ve been doing the usual: yoga, bike, eat, sleep.  Sometimes I find the repetition in my life sweet and comforting, and other times it makes me crazy with boredom.  Right now, I think I’m somewhere in between.  I am craving some novelty, and lucky for me, I’ve discovered a new, scenic bike route very close to my home.  I’d always been afraid to ride my bike on those streets because there is no sidewalk, but it’s the route we took to get home from Courteous Mass.  It turns out that these roads are pretty quiet and the path is beautiful: some of the most elegant homes in town are in this neighborhood.  It’s green and lush and peaceful on those streets, and riding through it feels like my world has cracked open a few inches.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Courteous Mass, College Station, TX

Courteous Mass_Come Ride with Us

Cuffed and Ready to Ride

Groovy Wheel

Friday’s Courteous Mass Group Bike Ride (5/7/11)

75 cyclists sharing the road with the massive trucks of Texas cowboy country: it must be Courteous Mass.

This group cycling event was the most fun I’ve had in a long time.  We gathered behind the bars at Northgate, where I took photos of the bikes and sexy legs, and from Northgate, we rode off into Texas A & M’s campus.  We wound our way around College Station for a while, carefully staying in our traffic lane, and eventually headed north into downtown Bryan for the First Friday festivities.

It was my first Courteous Mass, and I had a blast.  I spend so much time on my bike riding by myself that it was weird and fun to ride with a group.  I had to pay very careful attention to the ride to make sure I didn’t crash into anyone, and we rode much slower than I do on my own.  Still, the fun of being able to ride in the street down George Bush Drive and the pleasure of biking from College Station to Bryan more than made up for the lack of speed.

I’d never ridden my bike to Bryan because I was convinced that there wasn’t a good bike path to connect the two cities.  Our route was circuitous, so I’m not sure I could recreate it easily on my own.  It also involved riding on some roads that might feel less safe to me if I were by myself—safety in numbers, you know—but now I feel like I want to try it.  I like downtown Bryan a lot and would like to visit it more often, but not having a car here makes that trip more challenging.

Courteous Mass was amazing for more personal reasons too.  It was more than just a bike ride.  In the last few months, my world feels like it’s been shrinking.  When I lived in Chicago, I always felt like my world was enormous.  That city offered a dazzling array of opportunities just a train ride away from my home.  And when I needed to escape the urban life, vacation was just a plane ride away.  And that plane ride?  Also just a train ride away.  In certain ways, life in Chicago was easier, bigger, and more exciting than life in College Station, Texas.  It was also more overwhelming, and I spent plenty of time burrowing into my kitchen for comfort.

My life in Texas is different.  In the almost two years since I moved here, I have been growing and changing.  In some ways, life is better.  I feel more calm and centered about my relationship with Matt.  I’m becoming a more independent scientist (but still keeping my fingers crossed about that).  I have a little more money to spend, and I’m thinking about buying my first home(!).  I have a dishwasher and a bike and a digital camera and two blogs.  I have friends.  I am happy here.

But I miss the city, and I think the thing I miss most of all is that sense of expansiveness.  Chicago has an energy that I just love—it’s a dynamic city, a fun city, a city that was perfect for twenty-something, graduate student me.  Texas can feel a little stagnant with its masses of confused undergraduates and old white men.  I’m not sure yet where I fit in here.  Nor do I know how long I’ll stay in this town or whether I’ll stay in Texas.  But for an evening, I felt surrounded by kindred spirits during Courteous Mass.  I felt my world opening up, spatially and socially.  I met some cool people who were about my age and who were kind enough to let me tag along with them for part of the evening.

I think your world is as big as you imagine it to be.  Courteous Mass tugged at my imagination.  It gave me a peak at a larger world right here, in my own town.  I can’t wait for our next ride.  My bike and I are ready to have some more fun.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Momentum, or Lack Thereof

The Woods Above

Yoga Update (5/2-5/8/11)

At the beginning of the week, I had completed 29 days of yoga, which means there are just 11 days left in my 40 Days of Yoga project.  Hurray!  This project has taken way longer to complete than I imagined, so as I see the end approaching, I feel a sense of relief.

Apparently, my sense of relief was so great that this week, I skipped yoga more often than I practiced it.  I’m finding it hard to keep up the momentum with this project when I’m spending so much time on the bike and I want to get back into my running shoes.  Before this project, yoga was my way of staying strong and flexible.  It wasn’t my focus so much as something that I enjoyed and did regularly because it felt good and I knew it was good for me.

This project has taught me that I’m not interested in making yoga a bigger part of my life.  Doing 2-3 sessions a week and some stretching before bedtime is perfect for me, but now that I’ve turned it into a Project (capital P Project!), it’s not as much fun.  I think I would enjoy trying yoga with others in a group class, but on my own, I just don’t enjoy feeling like I have to do yoga.

The other thing I’ve learned is that my life, as it is, feels balanced to me.  I work, I play, I rest, and I’m happy with the amount of time I can spend on those activities.  The reality is that my job takes up a lot of my time and on a day-to-day basis, it is my highest priority.  That’s not to say that my job is more important than my family or my health, but again, I feel that I’ve achieved a balance that works for me.  Yoga is part of my balance.

This week I didn’t take very good notes about when I practiced yoga and what I did during yoga.  So the following may be incomplete, but it’s not with the intention of lying.

A slacker’s yoga week, in a very short list:

Wednesday (5/4): I do some DIY yoga on my mat, and I even get myself into wheel pose again!  I still feel so strong and accomplished in that pose—it hasn’t lost its charm yet.

Saturday (5/7): I look at the calendar and see that I’ve done yoga once in the past five days.  I feel guilty.  I do some pajama yoga before bed and still feel guilty.

As for all the other days of this week, I did not practice yoga.  I just wasn’t in the mood for it, which is perhaps the worst excuse, but sometimes, that’s the way it goes.  Tonight I’m hoping to do some Morning Flow to kick-start a better yoga week.  9 days left in my yoga project!  I can do this.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Best-Laid Plans…

…sometimes evaporate in a two-hour conversation with my parents!  I called my mother this evening to wish her a happy Mother’s Day, and I ended up on the phone with my dad for over an hour.  So instead of writing about Courteous Mass, I was talking about all manner of math and science.  I don’t talk to my dad too often, so I decided to indulge his enthusiasm.  But now…now I am tired and it’s getting late, so I’m not going to write about Courteous Mass tonight.  I will write later this week, but for now, I’m going to leave you with a few sexy leg shots from Friday.  For once, I’m posting pictures of people other than myself on Feels Like Flying!  Hopefully I don’t get in trouble for this.

(Hi, handsome.)

Ready to Ride

(Nice legs, lady!  I love that skirt.)

Skirt and Legs

Catch you later, gators!  Have a good week.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

On Bike-Riding, Profanity, and Not Getting Killed

Arches are Beautiful

Old Main Sign

Me and Bike Again

Bike-Riding Extravaganza!  Wednesday-Friday Bike Ride Commutes (5/4-5/6/11)

It’s been two wheels, all the time around here, at least when it comes to my daily commute.  It’s finals time for the undergrads, so the bus service is on some funky reduced schedule, and I’m feeling too impatient to tailor my schedule to the bus schedule.  So bike commuting it is!  It’s been nice to be on the bike this week, as the crazy winds have died down and it’s been much cooler this week.  On Friday, I even participated in my first Courteous Mass, a group bike-riding event, which I’ll tell you more about tomorrow. 

On a somewhat related note, I was almost killed twice today.  Twice!  The first scary moment happened this afternoon when I was waiting for the light to change so I could cross Wellborn.  Some asshole completely ran the red light, and I don’t mean that sly maneuver where you speed up to slip through a yellow light before it changes.  The light was RED, everyone else was stopped, and this truck comes flying—FLYING!—through the red light.  It was really lucky for me that while waiting for the light to change, I had ducked back into the shade.  The sun was pretty fierce today, and it was hot, so the shade was inviting.  The shady spot was a few feet back from the road, so when the light changed, it took me a few moments to go from the sidewalk into the street, during which time the asshole ran the red light.  I am not above flipping drivers the bird when they do such dangerously stupid things, though I realize that in a state like Texas, it’s also dangerous to flip people off (concealed weapons, you know).  I try to keep my middle finger to myself, but sometimes it slips out.  I still can’t believe that guy.  What could possibly be so important that you have to put lives in danger so that you won’t be late?

The second time was not quite as scary, but I am still appalled by this driver.  It happened just a few minutes ago.  I stepped outside to check my mail, and as I was walking back through the parking lot to my apartment, this truck (it’s always guys driving trucks!) is flying into the lot.  Now, I’m generally afraid of the parking lot because I see how fast people drive, but this guy still took me by surprise.  I get myself out of his way by walking over to the left, and all of a sudden he makes a sharp turn and drives his truck hard in the same direction that I am walking.  He pulls into a parking spot and kind of stares at me, as I stare at him, dumbstruck by his driving.  Still stunned, I shake my head a little and keep walking home, cursing to myself about what a dumbfuck he is.

I realize there have been a lot of obscenities in my posts this week.  I’m sorry about that.  I hate crickets and selfish drivers—they bring out the sailor in me!  My mother especially hates it when people curse.  She thinks it reflects a lack of eloquent communication skills.  I’m not sure about that.  The most eloquent person I know drops f-bombs quite happily and loves it when I do the same.  (Men!)  I’m not quite as liberal as he is, but cursing under my breath is a daily activity for me.  I feel like if your cursing isn’t bothering anyone else, then what’s the harm?  What’s your take on profanity, dear reader?  (I would never use vulgar terms for you!  You are awesome!)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Does That Count?

Around the Bend

Falling into Decay

Monday’s Short Run (5/02/11)

Today is off to a rockin’ start.  So far I have escorted a gigantic roach and a horny cricket out of my apartment, broken one of my lab tools, and burned my finger trying to repair my lab tool.  On the plus side, I managed to eat lunch without spilling it on myself.  Does that count as an accomplishment?

Oh heavens, I need Friday.  Wait, no.  Friday’s to-do list is too long.  I need Saturday.  Where is Saturday?

This week has been so long and exhausting.  I have no good reason for it, other than that I think I’m fighting a cold or an infection.  Last night I was so tired that I felt compelled to take a two-hour nap after dinner.  Today I feel okay, other than my burnt finger and general feelings of inadequacy.  Also, I’m still feeling creeped out by the cricket in my dining room this morning.  I hate crickets—they’re so jumpy and loud.  The roaches that come inside tend to be kinda mellow, but the crickets are scary as fuck.  I think it’s a sign I’ve been living in Texas too long that I can describe to you the differences in behavior between disgusting insects that like to wander into apartments.

On the plus side, I’ve been easing back into my running, and it feels good.  The weather has been so pleasantly cool this week that I just want to enjoy as much time outside before the heat becomes unbearable again.  On Monday, I did another ten-minute run after work, despite the sprinkles of rain and ominous-looking clouds.  It’s so easy to do these short runs after all the hours I spent training for the half-marathon!  When the scheduled run is only ten minutes long, I really have no excuse for not running.  It’s nice to know that I can be finished with my work-out in twenty minutes (five minutes each for a walking warm-up and cool-down, ten minutes of running in between)—it makes me feel very efficient.  Which is the exact opposite of how I’m feeling in my life in general these days.

PS  The photos above are more shots from the “woods.”  I ran through the dog part as part of my work-out on Monday, so here you get to see a few glimpses of my running route.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Windy Weekend, with Woods and Walking

In the Woods

Storm Clouds Gather

Like a Pair of Rocks

A Windy Weekend: Saturday and Sunday Bike Commutes + Sunday’s Walk in the “Woods” (4/30-5/1/11)

Today is the first day in a long time that the wind has died down.  It feels so peaceful out there after days and days of knock-you-over winds blowing every which way.  Over the weekend, after biking all over town in that wind, my legs felt like rocks.  At one point, I was biking uphill and into the wind, and I just wanted to sob, “No fair!  No fair!  What did I do to deserve this?!”

Wow, I’m such a whiner.  I’m sorry about that.

In addition to the unbelievable winds, we’ve also had really hot weather.  Seriously hot.  In addition to making my legs feel like rocks, the heat has left me sweaty and parched.  But on Sunday evening, a cold front rolled into town and gave us a 40-degree drop in temperature.  We went from 90-something degrees to 50-something degrees in just a few hours…and it was awesome.  I was so relieved to feel cool air when I stepped outside to take an evening photo walk!  It was cool enough that I had to add another layer, my blue fleece jacket, so that I wouldn’t be too chilly on my walk.

All the photos above were taken in the “woods,” a little wooded area within the dog park in my neighborhood.  I love the woods and these days, I find myself pulled to them.  There’s something about the light and the tall trees that reminds me of Michigan.  Michigan will always feel like home to me, and the woods make me feel nostalgic for simpler times.  I love my life now, but I am easily overwhelmed by this whole grown-up thing that is my life now.  It’s wonderful to have a place that, at least for a few moments, lets me shed my grown-up self and makes me feel small and protected in that grove of tall trees.

Monday, May 2, 2011

“Prayer without action is no prayer at all.”


Yoga Update (4/25-5/01/11)

This is another one of those days when current events are overshadowing any sense of self-importance I carry around with me.  Osama bin Laden is dead.  Ten years after the hunt began, we have found him, and now he’s God’s problem.  Or Satan’s.  Or maybe he’s just gone now, gone to the sea and the oblivion that is death.  I don’t know.  I’m an agnostic, so I really don’t know.

I’m not sure how to feel about this piece of news.  I won’t argue that it’s a tragedy that bin Laden is dead.  He used his time on earth to do atrocious things, so the rest of us are probably better off without him hiding in a cave somewhere.  But I can’t embrace the idea that a death is something to celebrate.  Maybe it’s my Buddhist tendencies, but revenge is not something I embrace, and neither is murder.  We Americans murdered a man in the name of national security, and while I can accept that people feel relief, I will not be celebrating this murder.  Perhaps it was justified, perhaps it was necessary, but I reserve my joy for things that affirm my belief in life and peace and mercy.  Neither bin Laden’s life nor his death is worth celebrating.

I was reading this piece by Bill McKibben, and when I bumped into a quote from Mother Teresa, its simple wisdom struck me as profound.  She said, “Prayer without action is no prayer at all. You have to work as if everything depended on you, and leave the rest to God.”  Now, I know that Mother Teresa was a religious person, so she prayed to God.  I’m a little more on the fence about God, but what I do believe in is human goodness.  Maybe it sounds trite, or cliché, or like a bad Disney movie, but as much as I can see that humans have the potential for egregious acts of violence, I also believe in humanity’s ability to do good, to help others, and to make heartbreaking sacrifices so that others may live.  I want to live my life with Mother Teresa’s words in mind: work hard, be devoted, be dedicated, hope that I’ve helped someone, and leave the rest to humanity.

It’s all I can really do anyway.

I like to think that yoga gives me the strength and peace of mind to stay dedicated to the things that matter most to me.  Even on the days when I can only do five minutes of yoga before bed, those five minutes calm me down and remind me that if I take care of myself, I have so much more to give.  I might do yoga sometimes in pursuit of a flatter stomach or something equally vain, but I am devoted to it because of the way it makes me feel: more like the person I want to be, well-fed belly and all.

Here’s what I did this week on the mat:

Monday (4/25): I want an easy, low-effort yoga class for tonight.  I choose Lunar Flow, which is easy peasy!  Perfect for my lazy evening.

Tuesday (4/26): On yogadownload.com, I look for their “Yoga for Cramps” class, but I come away empty-handed.  So it’s pajama yoga again!  The forward bends and back bends help to soothe my achy back.

Wednesday (4/27): I take the evening off of yoga and spend it in domestic goddess mode.  I make a new soup (a lentil-filled riff on this one—delicious!).  I do a thorough clean-up job in the kitchen, and I spend some time ironing wrinkled but clean clothes to get my closet into shape.  I feel I don’t have these sorts of evenings often enough, the ones that are both soothing in their simplicity as well as satisfying in the way that they make me feel ready for whatever’s next.

Thursday (4/28): I have a DIY yoga evening, including some time in wheel pose.  Whee!

Friday (4/29): I skip yoga tonight and go for a run instead.  Running, I missed you!

Saturday (4/30): Whoa, baby, my legs are hurting today.  Between running on Friday and biking into the crazy winds, my quads are feeling the burn.  I don’t do yoga today because the idea of more exercise is almost enough to make me weep.  Texas winds, 1.  Rose-Anne, 0.

Sunday (5/1):  My legs and back are still sore, and today’s bike session didn’t help matters.  I do a long pajama yoga session because I desperately need to stretch my legs.  By the time I go to bed, I’m feeling much better.  Yoga, you’re the best!

May you have a peaceful and productive week, my dear readers.