Sunday, August 29, 2010


My local grocery store moved this weekend.  Not far.  Just across the street into an updated shopping center.   Out of milk and fruit, I happened into the old store the day before the big move.   It was amazing to see the store just before "Opening Day" at the new location.   The old store was still stocked, yet carefully pared down.

The next morning, I drove past both stores on the way to teach.   I passed the old store first.  At least 8 tractor trailers were lined up to haul the remaining items to the warehouse.  I am sure folks were working since the store closed the night before pulling items from shelves.

And, just across the street, I saw over 100 people gathered at the entrance to the new store.  It was 5 minutes before opening - and people were excited!

Later that same day, I attended a Bar Mitzvah.   The mother of this wonderful boy, my dear friend, is living with liver cancer.   Nearly a year ago, her doctors told her she had 6 months.   Since then, she's been on a radical path of alternative treatment.   She wanted to make it to this day and see her son read from the Torah.   She also plans to be present at her sons' high school graduations.   Her oldest boy calls her "a wizard."

One of the things I love most about my teaching is being able to watch people transition.   In Yoga, Sun Salutations are all about transitions - moving freely from one pose to the next as well as stabilizing during a pose.   In Pilates, our sessions have a logical order and the transitions are important, too.

Often as we move through the decades of our lives, our pelvis stops moving.   It gets stuck in particular positions.   These pelvic locks or hang ups - can literally bring us down creating pain and dysfunction.   When working privately with students, I often see that the pelvis has stopped moving in response to the breath.   We are designed to rock and sway when we breathe.   Yet somewhere over the years, something has blocked this natural flow.   We hold.  We grip.   We don't want to let go.

We can see and feel this in our bodies during Sun Salutes.   During this sequence, the pelvis needs to have the freedom to move and also be dynamically stable.   For most of us, our bodies have to be reminded of this natural rhythm that creates a ripple effect throughout our entire organism.   And that's what a majority of my teaching is about.   A reminder.

In class, you will often hear me say that it's not about the pose - it's about the transitions to the poses.   Or the poses between the pose.  The big poses - the ones you see in the magazines, to me, are the big moments in our lives.   The wedding.   The birth.   The Bar Mitzvah.  The graduation.   The death.   The break up.   The new store opening.  These are the poses.   Yet, there's so much that happens in between these big events.   And that's the majority of our lives.   The transitions between the big things.   The big stuff punctuates the routine of our lives.  We can put all our attention there on the big moments - but those are all destinations.   Certainly not the journey.

My dear friend, who has chosen a longer transition with her life with cancer, is a formidable mother everyday.   Despite the heavy toxins in her body, her focus is on transitioning her boys to manhood.   It's the steps she takes each day to ensure their well being that define her living in the here and now.

May we all bring more attention to the daily moments of our lives.   May we re-shape patterns that no longer serve us.   May we know the way to the new store and not find ourselves in an empty parking lot.   May we breathe.   May we rock and sway.  May we see that the space and time between the poses is our purpose for being here.