Yoga, painting, and books

I’ve gone to yoga four times this week. Even more importantly, I’m listening to my body during my practice.

For the longest time, I compared myself to other people in the class. I would find myself upset when they could do a pose that I couldn’t and then immediately feel guilty for engaging in this comparison game. I also hated modifying poses. I’m pretty sure having that stubborn mentality resulted in some injuries.


Every yoga instructor I’ve ever had says something about focusing on our own mat and to modify poses when needed so they feel good to our bodies at the beginning of class. I’ve only recently taken those words and applied them to my practice.

I still occasionally sneak peaks at other people in the class, but I’m (finally) doing my own thing. If I’m tired, I let myself go into child’s pose for a few breaths or skip my chaturanga and go straight to downward dog. If there’s a pose I want to throw in, I simply do so. This is my way to practice spontaneity and embracing the playfulness aspect of my practice. I no longer wonder if other people are watching. Most likely, they didn’t even notice.

One of my yoga instructors said once, “You don’t have to do every chaturanga you’re invited to.” I remind myself of this throughout my practice. My relationship with my body is constantly changing and it’s up to me to figure out what works best for me each day. I get more out of my practice when I am challenged, but not putting myself in pain to do the full expression of a yoga pose. Letting go of comparison translates off the mat and into my “real” life as well. I’m kinder and more patient with myself and others.

My first watercolor painting!

I also went to a watercolor painting class with my mom at the library last night. I’ve never attended events at the library before (although I am there at least once a week to return/renew/borrow/browse books), so I was a little nervous about going and didn’t know what to expect. The event was held on the second floor of the library and taught by one of the librarians who also is an artist. I thought it was so cool that she could combine her love for books and art into her job.

There was a brief demonstration in the beginning and then we were on our own, painting whatever our hearts pleased. There were some scenic pictures available if we wanted to trace them and transfer them to our paper, so that’s what I did with my painting. We also used salt and rubbing alcohol to create effects on our work. The librarian/artist was really encouraging, which was great because I had no idea what I was doing. The librarian told me that she was hosting another event in July about sketching outdoors, so I’m planning on going to that!

Going to spend the rest of the evening reading. I’m almost halfway done with The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind by Barbara Lipska and 20 pages in for The Rule of Benedict by Joan Chittister. I was on the library waitlist for The Neuroscientist book and finally got the Lipska book a few days ago. The Chittister book has been on my list for awhile because of my interest in Benedictine spirituality (thanks to Kathleen Norris’ books). That book is due on the 25th and I can’t renew it, so hopefully, I’ll finish it by then!

I’m going wine-tasting tomorrow with a friend from high school, so I’m excited about that! The tasting we’re planning on doing includes chocolate, which is hopefully as amazing as it sounds. My cousin from Japan is also in the area for a business trip, so I’ll probably see him sometime this weekend too.

Other than that, my weekend should be pretty mellow (aka filled with introvert time); finishing up some scholarship applications, reading, and some more yoga.

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