Caring for Myself—And for Others (#BestOf)

(the Best of) A Year of Being Kind, Monday, March 6, 2017

Reading this post, three years later, my opinion has not changed. Yoga is marvelous for me, inside and out. (Especially with that exceptional yoga teacher! Who, sadly, does not teach on Monday nights any longer.) I have now gone beyond gentle yoga to regular yoga classes—hatha and vinyasa yoga. Yes, yoga is a wonderful way to care for myself. And, by caring for myself, I can’t help but care for others.

Caring for Myself—As Well As Others

Posted on March 11, 2014 by chaplaineliza

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, March 10, 2014

yoga guy zacara spot

yoga drawing – Zakar art by Chris Carter

Caring for Myself—As Well As Others

I needed to dive right into the week, right off the bat this morning. Work today, running and fetching, some computer work, some necessary telephone calls that needed to be made. Then, I made dinner. At least, I started dinner and asked my daughter to finish turning the chicken in the covered skillet while it simmered. Why the hurry at the end of the day? Simple! I have a one word answer: yoga.

Earlier today I went out of my way to do things for other people. Yes, I did acts of service, intentionally. But I want to focus on what happened at the YMCA. In yoga class. The Y has a number of different classes and exercise opportunities each day. In the pool, in the exercise studios, in the big gym. There are several yoga classes each week, too. I am no expert at yoga, believe me! But the gentle yoga class on Monday afternoons is perfect for me. Yes, there are yoga poses and stretching that challenge me! But nothing is too hard. Nothing that the older instructor has the class do is beyond most people’s abilities.

I’ve been attending the gentle yoga class for about three months, and it helps me! The yoga teacher helps me, too. She has a kind and easy-going way about her. One of the biggest reasons I appreciate this teacher is the open, generous manner she has with each person in the room. She also invites people to leave their worries, troubles, and stresses outside the room. Inside the room is calmness and peace. We can take our time and stretch, and restore balance and harmony to our bodies and our inner selves.

Yes, I realize that there is a component to certain yoga instruction that is rooted in eastern thought and religious practices. Yes, true. But not this teacher, and not this kind of gentle yoga and stretching. I think this is why I enjoy it so much. But—I saved the best for the last. I find this regular yoga class is a superb way to care for myself. I run around most of the week like a chicken with its head cut off. (My father-in-law saw quite a number of these, and he said they were pretty funny!)

Sometimes I am running, or in a hurry, or worrying. Other times I am caring for others—my children, my family, my good friends, those at my work, patients or residents. It seems as if I seldom take the time or the opportunity to carve out an hour to rest, to release the worry and upset of the day or the week. That is just what my kind yoga teacher invites us to do. It’s no wonder I am dashing off to her class each Monday! I need to take the time on a regular basis to allow myself to unwind. And more importantly, to allow myself to become refreshed and recharged—as in this class. I am so grateful to the YMCA for employing such a wonderful teacher. Thanks, YMCA! And thanks, God!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Suggestion: visit me at my blog: matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers– where I am doing a PEACE journey through Epiphany and beyond, into Lent. #PursuePEACE. Pursuing Peace – Thanks!)

Advertisements

Caring for Myself—As Well As Others

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, March 10, 2014

yoga drawing - Zakar art by Chris Carter

yoga drawing – Zakar art by Chris Carter

Caring for Myself—As Well As Others

I needed to dive right into the week, right off the bat this morning. Work today, running and fetching, some computer work, some necessary telephone calls that needed to be made. Then, I made dinner. At least, I started dinner and asked my daughter to finish turning the chicken in the covered skillet while it simmered. Why the hurry at the end of the day? Simple! I have a one word answer: yoga.

Earlier today I went out of my way to do things for other people. Yes, I did acts of service, intentionally. But I want to focus on what happened at the YMCA. In yoga class. The Y has a number of different classes and exercise opportunities each day. In the pool, in the exercise studios, in the big gym. There are several yoga classes each week, too. I am no expert at yoga, believe me! But the gentle yoga class on Monday afternoons is perfect for me. Yes, there are yoga poses and stretching that challenge me! But nothing is too hard. Nothing that the older instructor has the class do is beyond most people’s abilities.

I’ve been attending the gentle yoga class for about three months, and it helps me! The yoga teacher helps me, too. She has a kind and easy-going way about her. One of the biggest reasons I appreciate this teacher is the open, generous manner she has with each person in the room. She also invites people to leave their worries, troubles, and stresses outside the room. Inside the room is calmness and peace. We can take our time and stretch, and restore balance and harmony to our bodies and our inner selves.

Yes, I realize that there is a component to certain yoga instruction that is rooted in eastern thought and religious practices. Yes, true. But not this teacher, and not this kind of gentle yoga and stretching. I think this is why I enjoy it so much. But—I saved the best for the last. I find this regular yoga class is a superb way to care for myself. I run around most of the week like a chicken with its head cut off. (My father-in-law saw quite a number of these, and he said they were pretty funny!)

Sometimes I am running, or in a hurry, or worrying. Other times I am caring for others—my children, my family, my good friends, those at my work, patients or residents. It seems as if I seldom take the time or the opportunity to carve out an hour to rest, to release the worry and upset of the day or the week. That is just what my kind yoga teacher invites us to do. It’s no wonder I am dashing off to her class each Monday! I need to take the time on a regular basis to allow myself to unwind. And more importantly, to allow myself to become refreshed and recharged—as in this class. I am so grateful to the YMCA for employing such a wonderful teacher. Thanks, YMCA! And thanks, God!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

 

Being Kind? Be Patient.

A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, January 23, 2014

baby and butterfly

Being Kind? Be Patient.

Sometimes it’s easier for me to be patient. For example, when life is going smoothly, when everyone in my family is healthy and happy, I feel more relaxed, and things are generally on an even keel. Then, I find it easy to be patient in my relationships. But during certain periods in my life, that hasn’t been a very large percentage of time. Specific, stormy periods come to mind, where I could easily compare my life to sailing through crashing, stormy, wind-tossed seas. And this has been a good portion of the time. What then?  How can I be expected to be patient, with all heck breaking loose?

I am reminded of a scripture passage from the New Testament on patience. James 1:2-4, where James talks about patience and how the believer receives it. James’s letter was written to a small group of believers in Jesus the Christ (or, Messiah). James wrote it so his readers could be encouraged and comforted. When James puts down in verse 2 “Count it all joy when you fall in various trials,” I can relate to the “trials” part. However, I’m still working on considering the “joy.”

Patience can be both a blessing and an encouragement, in my experience. The first big place I particularly exercised patience was years ago, when I had babies and small children. I loved being a mom, and I loved the time I spent with my children. I enjoyed the slower pace that child-raising necessitated. (Ever take a leisurely stroll with a toddler or preschooler, and see the world through their eyes? Or dance, or sing, or just be silly? Great fun!) But even in the midst of that time with small ones, my life was not all peaches and cream. Worries and concerns, long periods of economic stress, times of personal struggle. Those were definitely not fun.

Going back to James, I’ll mention verse 1:3, “knowing the testing of your faith produces patience.” I understand the word translated “testing” can also mean “challenge.” Another way of thinking of this challenge called life, it produces patience. I know the refining of precious metals requires heating over a steady, consistent flame. Heating the molten metal causes the impurities to rise to the top, where they can be skimmed off. This leaves the precious metal all the more pure and valuable. However, I’m afraid I don’t want to be “challenged” too much more. Ever feel like crying out to God? Telling God to quit it, already? Enough with the steady flames, the fiery furnace. I know this makes the impurities in me rise to the surface. But with the regular fires I’ve been through, my precious metal must be really pure by now. Either that, or there were a whole lot of impurities and dross to skim off.

I used patience today, and yesterday, too. It’s easier to be patient when things are okay. I honored God by showing some amount of patience in my life. I think God is pleased, especially since patience is not one of my preferred gifts of the Spirit. Thanks, God, for helping me show patience to others.

@chaplaineliza