One More Time with Acute Focus

I’ve told you all of my friend and teacher, Kyczy Hawk before. She says so many wise and funny things that I think I could probably publish my own book called The Kyczy Compendium, but as she is a published author with multiple useful and readable books under her belt with another on the way, she may take umbrage at me mining her sayings for my own gain. Luckily for her, she has little to worry about on that front, as posting here on my blog every couple of weeks is about as disciplined as I can be at this point in my life.

I have the great privilege of assisting Kyczy at her Somatics class at Willow Glen Yoga every week, where we both work. Somatics is made up of a different series of movements which may build on each other in a class. Each movement set is carried out slowly and conscientiously in repetition of approximately 6-8 times. It’s a wonderful practice, that I highly recommend. Click here for more on Somatics. A few weeks ago, we had finished most of a set of Somatics exercises and she said, “One more time with acute focus, in case this was becoming ordinary”.

For whatever reason, this struck me. First off, it enriched my mind/body experience of my class that day. But also, our days are made of routines, and even when something isn’t routine, our brains try to make them so as quickly as possible. How much in a day do we perform unconsciously? As a matter of surety, I will die someday, and so will you. Why don’t we do our best to see the ordinary as extraordinary? With all of the random chance everywhere, with all of the systems in our body just pumping away, with all the crazy random chance that makes life suddenly go from one direction into another one altogether, I challenge us to try to bring that attention, that acute focus into our daily lives, or maybe just even a part of our lives. Let me know if you try it.



Sometimes, just when you need it…

Friends, I have not been enjoying anything approaching good health. For three days, I ran a fever, compounded by chills, severe, bone-crushing body aches, and nausea. It also felt like an elephant sat on my chest.

Generally, I get asthma like symptoms after a severe cold and have special medicine I take to get through it and enjoy happy and healthy lungs the rest of the year. Because of our incredible blessing of an overabundance of rain this year in California, all those long-dormant seeds came blooming into glorious life all at once, and I am wheezing and out of breath. I couldn’t even teach my class this morning, I’ve been whistling and rattling so much from my chest.

I hate the sensation of not being able to breathe. It makes me feel like I am going to panic, or cry, or freak out and die. (Literally…I imagine freaking out, running out of breath, falling over and hitting my head on the sharp corners of our coffee table and bleeding out before the kids get home from school).

So, there I am sitting on the couch, listening to my rattling and laboring breath, trying to meditate, but spazzing myself out instead. I feel demoralized after so much illness this week, totally out of it and anxious. So, I got online to try to give myself something else, anything else to think about it since even focusing on a book was beyond my reach. And there it was, from the wonderful and erudite B.K.S. Iyengar. I almost cried.

Do not think of yourself as a small, compressed, suffering thing. Think of yourself as graceful and expanding, no matter how unlikely it may seem at the time.

Then I got rewarded with one full breath. It will have to be enough for now. I am thankful.