My Husband has been drumming for longer than I’ve known him and I’ve always watched him and others. I have even hosted one or two circles. I just never actively participated. Last summer, I had my first drumming experience when the Monks from the Drepung Gomang monastery were here.
I’m going to be honest with you…I have never felt comfortable enough to just lose myself so completely in front others. Do you know what I mean? I watch my Husband go away when he drums. I have seen people completely give themselves over to the drum and its beat.
But last year, when I was beating the drum mallet against a huge drum along with 6 other people, including two of the monks, I finally understood what that felt like. The vibration just kind of soaked into my soul. It was as if every beat against the drum was in synch with my heart.
So awesome was it then when I read this article on drumming and its effect on health and stress. Check out the videos of the people dancing to the drumming with such abandon! Oh, to be that free! Watch the drummers. There is no stress on their faces. These people are feeling pure joy.
When I hear this kind of music, it does make me want to get up and move! Stomping my feet! Waving my hands! Feeling the beat of my heart and the drum stamping out whatever stress I may be feeling! And, it can be any kind of music. Last week, during my workout, the song, Footloose came on and I just stopped what I was doing and danced. What an amazing experience!
Do you dance?
It has been a long, cold winter. I’m not one to complain about Mother Nature. My Husband always says, “There’s no such thing as bad weather; only inappropriate clothing.” That is not to say that I haven’t been hibernating. I have never been a cold weather athlete. Every year I think about it but it is just so easy to stay home, where it’s warm and cozy. I walk but not nearly as much as I do when it’s 30 or above. And, with all the snow we have in my area, even walking a mile takes an hour. I get a bit complacent with my workouts.
After spending some time psyching myself up to do circuit training this morning, I finally took a deep breath in. A deep breath in of gratitude. Gratitude for the bright sun shining through my windows. Gratitude for my body that feels like it’s been waking up after being in a dark cave. Once the gratitude soaked in, I was allowed to do a kick ass workout. With each jump squat, lunge, and push up, I felt the winter begin to flow out of me. I swear I even smelled spring.
And with this feeling of gratitude, spreading through every pore, came the release of all the stress I put upon myself just minutes before. Feeling gratitude allows me to accept the present moment as being exactly perfect just the way it is. By the time I got to the second set of circuits, I was sweating and smiling and feeling pretty damn good. I was grateful.
Here are just a few ways to experience gratitude:
- Be aware of all the wonderfully small things in life.
- Keep a gratitude journal (I don’t write in mine. I make collages).
- Change the negatives to positives.
- Give compliments or share your appreciation with someone.
- Avoid gossip, complaining, and/or criticism for a few days and see what happens.
- Sound happy when you speak with others and notice how they respond.
- Do something for others.
What are you grateful for today?
I’ve been walking this particular path my entire life. It is down the street from the house I grew up in. It’s down the street and around the corner from where I currently live. I have wonderful memories about this path.
One in particular is the day I was sledding with my best friend. Just off and up to the right in this picture is where I sat down on my bright orange super sled. Half way down, I hit a “bump” and went airborne. I landed with a thud. It hurt! My best friend was laughing so hard that I started laughing. I laughed so hard I peed my pants.
Every time I turn down this path, that is what I start thinking about. And, then I have to pee. Coincidence?
Today I experienced a good ol’ crying spell. It’s been a rough couple of days, physically and as I sat down on my yoga mat this morning I told myself it was ok to not start with sun salutations. My knees just weren’t going to bend that way today without major protest. And, to be honest, I just wasn’t up to anymore protests from my body this morning.
About 10 minutes or so into my practice, I started crying. Just gentle tears in the beginning but it didn’t take long for the shoulder hitching sobbing to get going. I’m not sure at what point I put my hands together in prayer and just started breathing into the crying. My head was bowed, my fingertips touching my forehead, my thumbs touching my heart space and I just cried. Deep, emotional, stress relieving crying.
I don’t know what thoughts were running through my head. I’m not sure anything did. What I got was emotional and physical relief. A definite letting go of tension happened. My shoulders stopped being earrings. I swear my amazingly stubborn and tight hamstrings let go just a little bit, allowing me to stretch just a tad closer to the floor. I felt cleansed.
Crying is a great stress reliever. It can also be expression of deep emotion. Sadness as well as joy can be the cause of tears. I’ve even read that people believe tears rid the body of toxins. It makes sense to me. I’ve been dealing with a lot of physical pain which causes me stress. The tears I shed this morning was the route the toxic chemicals and hormones left my body. Making me feel happier and a bit looser.
I believe I set my goals to high when I stated I would post 3 times a week. Having taken on, although really really part time, two jobs that take me out of the house 4 days a week, I feel overwhelmed trying to find time to write. I think one post a week and maybe a picture thrown in might be all I can handle right now.
I started writing something about exercising while fat and then I read this. Most of Naomi’s thoughts could have been mine. Enjoy.
One of the blogging201 assignments was to link our blogs to our social networking sites. After much contemplation I decided to link this blog only to my instagram. I’m not blogging for fame or fortune. I’m blogging to simply expand my creative side through writing. And, to be honest, I’d much rather total strangers read my stuff than my FB friends. Weird? Probably. But there it is.
I started posting A view from the mat on my instagram because every morning when I set out to do yoga, I take a minute to admire the view. I practice yoga in the prettiest room my house. Not only is the room pretty but the view looking out into the marsh is amazing. At sunrise the birds come to the feeders and the sky usually turns a beautiful shade of pink. Sometimes orange, red, or purple. My cat loves to watch the birds and usually when I’m down on the mat, most of my animals come to stretch with me. It’s not uncommon for my cat to perch on my chest while I’m down there.
Anyone else out there practice yoga? Where’s your favorite place to practice?