These days, my two year old son is determined to do things on his own. Putting on his pants. Opening his yogurt. Buckling his car seat.
"No, Mama, no!" he says when I try to help. "Freddi do it."
On days when I feel more spacious, I stand back and watch. He struggles with the pant leg, spills the yogurt, fumbles with the seat clips. Soon after comes the second most common mantra of the day, a frustrated wail accompanied by, "But he can’t do it!"
"That’s okay," I say, "Try again."
We take a breath together while I sit nearby, sometimes guiding him, other times letting him work at it on his own until he gets it. Sometimes he does, but maybe he doesn't. No big deal. The thing I want him to learn is that there is an opportunity to start again. It’s not an opportunity to reach perfection or do something right or do it better or get anywhere specific. It’s just what it is. An opportunity. An opening. A fresh moment. And he can tackle it with equanimity and looseness about where it will lead. (He's almost ready to learn the word equanimity.)
On my less spacious days, however, I feel my own irritation rise when he insists on doing things himself. I’m in a hurry or I just want something done the easy way. On those days, I ignore my better judgment and try to force my agenda. It never works. Freddi usually runs away. And then laughs at me. And then laughs some more when I get even more frustrated.
In his own way he's saying to me what I have said to him:
"That's okay, Mama. Lighten up, take a breath, try again."
Sometimes I seize the fresh moment immediately. The absurdity of my wrestling for my way with a toddler hits me so abruptly that I can only laugh with him and transform it into play. Other times, I have to lock myself in the bathroom for a second and breathe, letting each breath become a reset until I regain that sense of spaciousness again. And then I might have to do it again in an hour or ten minutes... until I relax into working with his energy rather than against it and acknowledging my own strong and unpredictable forces as well.
December is as much a testing ground as parenting a toddler can be. Dark. Cold. Busy. Holiday cheer and celebrations both a welcome distraction and an annoying obligation. Extreme feelings of being both blessed and bereft. Excitement and excess. Too much family or too little or not the right ones or all the right ones but special ones missing. Reflections of the past year bringing both grief and pride. This time of the year excavates all of it and our day-to-day experience – how we treat others, how we care for ourselves – can reflect this fragrant internal soup of complexity.
Always, always, we can start again. Without judgment. No big deal, we can go back to the breath. That great giver of space. That great stabilizer of our nervous system. And then we try once more, engaging with that which we need to engage.
These next months at Catskills Yoga House will offer you many opportunities to arrive, just as you are and enter the freshness of each new moment.
WEEKEND EVENTS & WORKSHOPS
Going Inside: Journey to Your Center with Shamanic Practitioner Michael Brownstein
Saturday, December 17th * 4-5:30 * $20
As we near the winter solstice and await the rebirth of light, nature invites us to slow down and turn inward. In this workshop, we will be led by poet, qigong teacher, and shamanic practitioner Michael Brownstein on a journey to our center. Beginning with an ancient and simple qigong form to center ourselves, we will slow down and tune in to the quiet energy inside our bodies. Then, using drumming and visualization, Michael will lead us in journeying deeper within ourselves, where we will enter a timeless internal landscape and communicate with a power animal or spirit guide for aid in healing as well as solving current conflicts. Shamanism is an ancient practice utilizing techniques developed over many thousands of years that are accessible to everyone. Quiet down, drop inside, and allow yourself to be held and guided by the wisdom inside. Please dress comfortably and bring a notebook and eye covering. Please write firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot.
New Year’s Day Gong Sound Bath with Ricarda O’Conner
Sunday, January 1st * 4:30-6 * $20 pre-reg/$25 same-day
Plant the seeds of your new year's intentions, purify and restore your energy, raise your vibration, and get in touch with the natural resonance of your body. We welcome back Ricarda O'Conner, a master healer and gong musician, to guide participants in a candle-lit journey of sound. Dress comfortably and warmly, bring a mat if you have one, and be prepared to travel. This event will fill up fast so please write email@example.com to reserve your spot.
Deepen into Yin: Anatomy Study and Practice with Will Leblanc
Friday, January 13th * 4-8 * $40
For yoga teachers and curious practitioners alike, this workshop offers an exploration of the essence and fundamentals of yin yoga. What are the qualities of this quiet, slow, deep practice and how do we move into the inner space of our own body’s intelligence? Prepare to study, among other things, the story of yin yoga's emergence in a world of activity, the role fascia plays in yin postures, and the philosophy behind this style of yoga. Included in the workshop will be a two-hour class to explore and integrate the concepts and ideas presented. For those who take Will's weekly class, you know you are in for an experience of great learning, deep insight, sweet, relaxation, and good-natured humor. Write Info@catskillsyoga.com to reserve your spot.
Women’s Goddess Retreat with Alison Sinatra
Saturday, February 18th * 12-6 * $75
Come for a restorative and comforting day of connecting with yourself and other women. Alison, with over a decade of experience as a yoga teacher and leader of women's circles, is known for her warmth, intelligence, and humor as well as her ability to hold sacred, healing, love-filled space. She will draw on the energy of the water and woods to help us work with (not against) the quiet, soft, and introspective space that winter creates. Through asana, prayer, conversation, meditation and song, we’ll be held by winter’s softness and emerge feeling rested and restored. Expect a delicious snack as well! This is a perfect event to attend alone or with a sister, friend, mother or daughter. This event will fill up fast, so please write firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot.
Friday, December 23rd:
5-6 PM Open Vinyasa with Selena Reynolds (subbing for Aaron)
Saturday, December 24th, Christmas Eve:
10-11:30 AM Open Vinyasa with Sara
Sunday, December 25th, Christmas Day:
Monday, December 26th:
5-7 PM Yin yoga with Will
Tuesday, December 27th:
5-6 PM Basic Forrest Style with Christie
Wednesday, December 28th:
Thursday, December 29th:
6-7:30 PM Renew/Restore with Sara
Friday, December 30th:
9:30-10:30 AM Basic Vinyasa with Sara
5-6 PM Open Vinyasa with Aaron
Saturday, December 31st, New Year's Eve:
10-11:30 AM Open Vinyasa with Sara
5-6 PM Candle-light Flow with Christie
Sunday, January 1, New Year's Day:
10-12 Purify, Practice, and Meditate with Sara
4:30-6 Gong Sound Bath with Ricarda O'Conner
(Note: No 9 am class and no energy yoga therapy on the 1st.)
HOLIDAY OFFERINGS and GIFT IDEAS
Now through January 15th, six month unlimited yoga memberships available for $600.
Gift certificates available! Apply towards classes or workshops, these make great gifts for those who already love yoga and those who are curious about starting.
Beautifully packaged kits of certified therapeutic pure grade essential oils available for $27. The perfect stocking stuffer or gift for those who want to renew their healthy routines and get their natural apothecary started.
Class Cards make great gifts!
$80 for 5 classes, $140 for 10 classes, and $260 for 20 classes.
Private or semi-private classes are a great way to deepen and customize your own practice or have a beautiful, personal experience with a friend or partner.
Ever committed to starting again, I'm yours, in movement,