Living my Yoga

Posted on June 19, 2020

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The most glorious thing about lockdown has been that Sid is home. He is able to get off work at a reasonable hour. And because the days are long, we are able to get out for walks most days.

When we bought our house three years ago, we knew nothing about the neighbourhood. We fell in love with the house and made an offer. It felt hasty. but it was at a time when the Toronto real estate market was in a crazy frenzy. Houses were barely on the market for two days before a bidding war would ensue. We know. We lost a beautiful home in the Junction in one such war. But, I am glad we didn’t get that house. Besides the location, it didn’t have anything to offer. The master bedroom did not even have a closet! But I digress.

All we knew about the home we bought was that it was located on the border of Etobicoke (West end of Toronto) and Mississauga. Just as I was wallowing in buyer’s remorse a colleague who lives in the area excitedly told me about how wonderful the neighbourhood was!

Local Italian bakery with the best baked goods, meats and cappuccino? Score. Great school district means a great resale value? Yes, please (even though we are child-free.) Easy transit options to downtown? Wow! And the best thing we have discovered over the last few weeks is the number of parks and walking trails all around us. Every evening, we take a walk along the Etobicoke Creek or the Little Etobicoke Creek (not the same, we learned) and thank our stars that we had bought this house. The park near our house has a huge dog pen and the trail connects us to Centennial Park as well. All in all, we walk between 5 to 7 kms daily.

Our walks are fast-paced with breaks to admire flowers and barks of trees and gawk at puppies. We take detours and end up discovering yet another trail or a cozy nook, perfect for a picnic, a siesta or just to read.

A photo I took on one such walk

A few days ago, we ended up taking one such detour. We had walked almost an hour. We had been on this route only once before, that too in the other direction. We came upon a narrow path; it was covered by trees. We couldn’t see where it led. Sid looked at me. He was asking if I was up for it. It was evening. The sun was still out, but not as hot. The breeze was gentle. Dinner was ready at home. Why not, I thought. We started walking into a thicket. It was gorgeous. We fawned over how beautiful this place was and how unbelievable that such serenity and stillness could be found in the middle of the city.

It was a downhill path. Easy enough. Till we came to one steep-ish slope. Sid ran down. I looked at the slope and then at my shoes. I was not wearing the right kind. But I also wanted to go down this way and feel the rush. I considered sliding down. But I was wearing my favourite hot pink tights. There was no way I was going to ruin them.

It is little moments like these that allow me to use my Yoga and meditation practice. Grounding is an important concept in Yoga. Grounding our body allows our mind to be grounded as well. There are easy ways in which grounding can be practiced. E.g. Plant our bare feet on the earth and observe all points of contact. Then bring awareness to our natural respiration. Watch our breath for a few cycles. Or simply lie flat on the fllor and trace an outline of the body parts that touch the earth.

We can practice balancing asanas like Vrikshasana / Tree pose. If we are in a Veerabhadra / Warrior pose, we ground down equally through both feet. We always build our poses from the ground up. From the feet, to the core, to the breath, gaze and finally our thoughts.

Atop this hillock, I stood. I spread my toes wide through my shoes and connected with the Earth. I whispered silently to her. Mother Earth please support me. I came up to my core muscles, the Uddiyanabandha belly lock. I activated the Bandha. (The scientific term is pee muscles I believe, LOL!) I connected with my breath, set my gaze to the exact point at the bottom where I wanted to be, and I was ready.

I walked down at great speed. With great confidence. No fear. Only joy.

Earth beneath me. Earth inside me. I am grounded. I am strong. I am fearless. I am free.

Posted in: attitude, life, meditation