Friday, November 26, 2010

wabi sabi of today

My breathing slowed, my body fell still, the world paused, and all of the negativity seeped into the ground beneath me.
This morning in relaxation pose, I couldn't help but feel so grateful for the peace I've found through my yoga practice. It's not the first time either. I discovered yoga at 13. I was wandering through the Discovery Store on one of my girlfriend and I's many weekend trips to the mall and I stumbled upon A.M. and P.M. Yoga. My friend and I each bought a set with our allowance money. We both started to practice before school and before bed. I've been in love with the centering postures, breathing exercises, and Hindu philosophies ever since.
In a very appropriate Women's Health article I was reading recently, Los Angeles yoga instructor, Rainbeau Mars says, 
"Breakups often stir up emotions that can throw us off-center, leaving us vulnerable, insecure, doubting, scared, and even angry. There is nothing more important than staying grounded, and finding a sense of safety and security despite the emotional rollercoaster."
For me, the source of that perspective has, and will probably always be, in yoga. (The article, by the way, has some amazing routines no matter what your relationship status.) Every now and then I fall into running, and I always seem to be proud when I do. I appreciate challenging myself, building my endurance, and finding that familiar mental quietness in each stride. But my stints with running are just that, little flings that come and go, and so yoga is my constant. 
Since I had today off of work, I was able to attend a Power Yoga class with one of my favorite instructors at NYSC. Although I oftentimes hang on every word she says, today she said something especially meaningful: "Let go, be present, you are exactly where you are meant to be, right now."
Through the past decade of my yoga practice (oh gosh, saying that makes me feel old, haha) I have lived a life that is either nostalgic for the past or expectant for the future. Overall it's been a pretty good one. But I do believe that there's value in just being, in just enjoying the greatness that is today, in allowing yourself to fall into that place where you are supposed to be. I am making the conscious choice to adjust my thoughts accordingly.
Nevertheless, it's much easier to be present when you're pleasantly situated on cloud 9. And so I re-read another self-relevant article in Whole Living, Wabi Sabi Your Life: 6 Strategies for Embracing Imperfection. The first is Humble Virtues. "To illustrate: Wabi sabi is asymmetrical heirloom vegetables and handmade pottery, crow's feet and the frayed sleeves of a favorite wool sweater, exposed brick and the first draft of a difficult letter." The second is Abandoning Perfect. Richard Powell told the author, "Accepting the world as imperfect, unfinished, and transient, and then going deeper and celebrating that reality, is something not unlike freedom."
The trick is to apply the two to the way we live in relationships, food, home, beauty, closets, and work. A favorite blog of mine, Design*Sponge, recently spoke of Wabi Sabi (albeit with more of a focus on decor, of course). "An offshoot of Zen Buddhism, wabi-sabi essentially refers to a profound and abiding appreciation for the transient, fleeting beauty that pervade the natural world..."
Yesterday, I woke up on my favorite holiday of the year feeling grateful for every part of my life. As I tweeted, "I'm thankful for the good, the bad, and the ugly. Without it, I wouldn't be here right now: so happy on Thanksgiving." I sent holiday wishes to the incredible friends that have kept me afloat throughout my life, and was astounded to find that the number exceeded two dozen. I spent my day surrounded by wonderful family, knowing that each one of them loves me unconditionally, and always would. I ate delectable food, drank fabulous wine, and I was grateful for being so blessed. Mmm, apple crisp...
Then I came back to this blog. I read through my therapeutic saga and the phenomenal response that continues to make opening up, sharing my life, and revealing it in it's supreme imperfectness, an absolute pleasure for which I am eternally thankful. I cannot even express  how overwhelmed with comforting bliss I was. And yet, I know that I won't that happy every day. That's okay and probably a good thing, because gosh, that'd be annoying. Wouldn't it? ;)
For the next month, and perhaps longer than that, I am going to end each post like a photographic gratitude journal. It'll be the first of it's kind (although I've certainly read more than enough material about it's de-stressing powers) and I don't doubt that it'll be a positive addition for the both of us. A transcript from Oprah radio reads, "As more of your thoughts and words become positive, you'll start attracting more positive people and circumstances." The best is yet to come, my friends, and even though I may have not eaten any turkey yesterday, I wouldn't have wanted to be resting in a traditional food coma with anyone but mi familia. My little brother may have been missing, (and missed), but we will all be reunited soon. And today, with the calm of yoga freshly running through my veins and thoughts, I am feeling more than content to run errands, clean my room, and help my parents decorate the house for Christmas. Take care!


  1. oh, what a lovely post. i wrote about this idea of presence awhile back when i was re-discovering yoga for the umpteenth time. for me it's not a constant practice, but i am getting to a place in my life where i'd like it to be. as for wabi sabi, i totally dig this philosophy - perfection is unrealistic, outdated and just plain impossible to achieve. i like that the article touches upon something as simple as NOT following a recipe if you don't have all the ingredients. why the heck not? unless you're baking, you're probably not gonna "mess it up" or whatever. i dig it.

    i love the food coma family picture (BT and i totally napped after our feast) and the idea of the photographic gratitude journal. overall, a great followup to the therapeutic saga!

    happy weekend! :)

  2. A decade of yoga! Amazing, Danielle :) And I think the photographic gratitude journal is a really great idea!

  3. oh, how much do i adore this? i love the idea of yoga as a constant - though i haven't been practicing nearly as long as you, i have found such stability in being dedicated to a regular practice in the past year and a half. i know that isn't going anywhere.

    and then, i love the idea that we are exactly where we are meant to be - i've been told this in yoga classes before, and it's such a good perspective shift for those of us who tend to plan plan plan or reflect reflect reflect. there's a lot of beauty in just being where you are, appreciating it, living it.

    aaaand, i love all the ideas behind wabi sabi - that is a philosophy that is new to me, but boy do i agree with it in basically every way.

    i love that final photo - there is clearly so much warmth and love. happy thanksgiving dear - looks like you had a great one!

  4. I love the idea of a "decade of yoga"….and love how much youve learned through yoga practise. Your thanksgiving eats also look so good!


  5. crunchygranolagal: Thank you, dear :). I'm glad you understand what I'm talking about I think it's probably a good thing that neither of us have too many constants... that wouldn't leave enough room for trying new things! And yes, Wabi-sabi rocks. Thanks again and same to you! Hope to see you soon!

    anandaprana:Thanks so much!

    leslie: So much love in that comment :) thanks for the support, darling! See you soon!

    Sparkles & Fades: Thank you, love! I can confirm that they were delish :).

  6. Rodney yee is a yogi I still go back to when I need centering...which is often. Although we know yoga can't fix us, it brings us to a level we may not have been without and its really great to appreciate that, especially after years. If you are like me, you've gone in and out of practice, but whenever you return, its like seeing an old friend you've missed for a long time.

    Loved your beautiful thanksgiving message! I hope you will be around NY come X-Mas time so I can see you!

  7. claire: Mr. Yee and I go way back :). Thank you and I will be! Let me know when exactly you'll be back. I'd love to see you again!


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