I started out tonight’s group yoga practice saying that I’d been listening again to the recorded conference calls in Claudia Welch and Cate Stillman’s “Healthier Hormones” course, which while presenting very simple aspects of much more complex systems of thought and practice, I think gives valuable perspective on living with awareness and self care. In the first call, Dr. Claudia tells a story of teacher who told her that she should meditate lovingly. Dr. Claudia suggested that practicing just out of a sense of obligation wouldn’t have the same benefits as if you went to it and did it lovingly; and, as a physical matter, you wouldn’t get the same positive hormonal benefits.
During my intense workday trying to meet a major deadline, I thought both of the intention to make everything one does a meditation and this exhortation to meditate lovingly and decided to have combining the two be my practice for the day. I’d draft an email or get on the phone or edit documents and say to myself, “lovingly, lovingly.” I thought, as I contemplated what needed to be said and done, “lovingly” doesn’t mean never tough love. Doesn’t mean passive acceptance or false praise. Doesn’t mean anything crossing appropriate work place boundaries. But the action always done lovingly. With spacious awareness. Illuminated consciousness. However you might describe that lovingly place. Saying the word periodically during the day as if it were japa or mantra made this day better. More loving for me; probably better for all the people with whom I had to engage on a fairly unpleasant and monstrously complicated task.
I sent the big email to my boss at 6:30 and got off the phone with him at 6:58, when the yogis arrived. As I ended the call with my boss, I said I’d be done with yoga at 8:30 and would leave my computer on, and I would be available then. Practice was sweet–standing poses and hip openers to get ready for more snow. We’d were shifting into our first restorative and the phone rang.
8:04pm. The answering machine picked up and my boss began leaving a message. I’m leading yoga practice. Boss calling while leading yoga practice not good.
I decided that it would be better overall not to wait until practice was over to return the call. I asked one of my fellow yogis to lead the others in the next pose (the delicious and simple restorative of lying with a rolled up blanket cross-wise under the back right under the shoulder blades to give the heart a lift and to provide a counter balance to the shape of sitting at a computer).
I reminded myself what we’d been talking about as the focus of practice; “lovingly,” I said to myself, the lovingly being about how to complete the task at hand, not specific to the individual. I called back my boss. He just couldn’t wait to call until 8:30; he was anxious about the impending snow storm and its impact on our being able to get things done and he wanted to be done and home, too. I’d left my glasses in the studio and couldn’t see the computer well enough to work, so I went looking for them. When I went in, expressing my chagrin, the yogis said they were enjoying listening to the conversation (while they were happily in their poses). I decided to believe them. When my boss apologized, I replied, “it’s ok; my students assured me that they enjoyed listening.” I am grateful and delighted to practice with such gracious friends, that I could say it truly.
Then we wound up the practice with supported half shoulder stand, followed by a twist and savasana.
Hard work that lovingly thing sometimes, but I think it might be an efficacious conscious practice for a while for me.
Feel free to remind me if it seems like I’m forgetting. But lovingly.