Monday, March 21, 2011
A follow-up to last week's post about changing from night-owl to lark.
Fear and apprehension: Can it be done? Everyone says it's genetic. I probably need a plan. And a back-up plan. And a Plan C, after months have passed and I'm still struggling.
The reality: It's very easy. Just open eyes. See daylight (or the beginnings of daylight). Slowly roll out of bed. Sigh. Yawn. Growl. Mutter. Done.
What if all of those other things that I think difficult are really this easy. It's about tolerating brief discomfort, that's all. Why didn't someone tell me this years ago? (I've been asking this a lot lately.)
The owl/lark dilemma is just another take on a previous post, fear of flying. Same concept. Change "fear" to "discomfort" this time.
These are the prisons we create for ourselves. And now that I've experienced how easy it is to change the pattern of my day by a few hours -- all it takes is a little discomfort -- I'm realizing how rigid I've been.
It's spring. I want to see how adaptable I can become in other ways, too. It's not all as serious and set in cement as I thought it was. Who knew? Why do we believe this stuff? I want to thaw out, loosen up, and continue to free myself from the nested cages of my own perceptions.
Anyone care to share what long-standing habit you've surprised yourself by changing, and how you did it? I love this! Yay!
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Alarm sounds. Middle finger hits snooze button. Sigh. Roll over. Repeat.
As my schedule gets busier (a good thing, right?), I find my lifelong night-owl ways severely challenged. My workday usually ends at 9:30pm, so it feels great to have at least a few hours to wind down before bedtime. And, after that, there's the favorite pastime of reading in bed, and, next thing you know, it's 2am!
Arising at 7am or earlier doesn't seem to work too well after all of that. Yes, it can be done, but not with a song in my heart. However, the rest of my world starts its day early, and I need to keep up.
So, for others of my ilk who may be experiencing similar challenges, here are a couple of resources:
Reset your body clock from Shape magazine
Do larks repress owls? from economist Robin Hanson's blog. Fun and interesting, but with much conflicting research.
Best tip so far, especially as it's now spring: Get out of bed immediately as the alarm sounds, open the blinds, and get some in-your-face sunlight.
But the real obstacle just might be my resistance to retiring early. There's a rebellious teenager inside of me who's throwing a fit because she doesn't like her bedtime. Yet, I know that my owlish nature will make the next day so much more stressful by getting a late start.
Bonus paragraph, apropros of almost nothing (from an eight-year-old Guardian story about shiftwork):
"Researchers following the metabolic rates of hibernating bats realised that the metabolic day-night rhythms of the inactive animals kept going even without time cues and regardless of temperature. Had the bat's rhythm been slowed down by cooling, it would have been assigned to some simple chemical cycle. The observation that it kept its own time regardless of environmental conditions suggested that there was an elaborate biological clock at work."
"Metabolic rates of hibernating bats" has such a lovely ring to it. Should be in a Cole Porter tune.
Solutions to my night-owl dilemma, anyone? Yoga teachers and personal trainers with early-morning appointments: How do you do it? Yogis, please share your wisdom. In the meanwhile, I'll be hanging upside down in my cave.
(Photo accompanying this post is a supermoon or lunar perigee. Extreme supermoon to rise this Saturday, expected to appear about 30% larger than a full moon at other times. A lunar perigee is when the Moon is closest to Earth during its monthly orbit. For a spectacular sight, watch from the lakefront as the moon rises this Saturday at 7:25pm Chicago time.)
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Tonight is Shivaratri, the night of Shiva, a time of enlightenment and transformation, so I thought it an appropriate occasion to revive this blog.
It's that chilly and dingy time of year when we can sense the scent of spring only in imagination and resolutions of the New Year are difficult to recall. But although we can't feel it, we know that a few weeks from today, we'll feel the warmth of the sun and see the first hints of green.
Where are you today on the continuum of your yoga path? Have you cut back on classes, or eliminated them altogether? Did you feel strait-jacketed by instruction that seemed too regimented, or that connected body to mind by only the most tenuous of threads? Is there part of you who wants to practice yoga your own way -- only, you're not entirely sure which way that is?
In this day of cheaper-than-cheap Groupon yoga, it can be difficult to find a practice that truly inspires you. But don't give up trying, because the answer may be -- guess where, and I bet you already know -- within.
Consider working one-on-one with a teacher who specializes in helping students develop a personal, at-home yoga practice that truly feeds you. A practice that's more than just an exercise class, but an expression of your being.
What if every practice session were an insight into how you're feeling and what you need on that particular day? And you could act on these insights in ways that calm and energize you and add to the joy with which you embrace each day?
Yoga can do just that, every time, when you create the practice yourself with the help of a knowledgable guide. It's ever-changing and ever-renewing, just as you are.
Swallow the sun next time you practice yoga. Receive everything that yoga has to give you.