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Anjaneyasana-
Photo Credit: Suki Dalury in Anjaneyasana, by Zoe Zimmerman for Sundara Studios 2013

“There is so much fear out there right now.” That is what we say. That is what I say. I say it to normalize the trepidation a person might feel, I say it to soothe the anxiety someone is experiencing, but maybe I say it, maybe we say it, as a defense to feeling the fear. After all, fear feels scary.

A friend finally got back into enough of a routine to work yoga back into her weekly regiment. She told me that it wasn’t to long after she had her coat on and mat in hand that she felt the fear. “Oh, yeah. I forgot,” she told me,  “Yoga scares the bejesus out of me.”

In class on her mat the fear came in waves. She was fearful of being seen. She was fearful of doing it wrong or, more accurately, of being wrong. And what if she was seen?  What if she was wrong?  “Well, then,” she paused and said, “I would be a bad person.”  She looked funny.  She knew it made no sense, but still it was what she feared. “Wait,” she then said, with some sense of an epiphany. “That is a child’s way of thinking.”

Next week on the mat she breathed.  I mean really breathed.  With intention and with purpose, intending and purposing self support.  She stood tall out of her spine and decided to let herself really get to know fear: as she stretched and struggled to maintain a pose; as she fell out of step with the class; and as she misunderstood a pose. She bore witness to her own reflection in the seemingly unforgiving mirrored wall.

She discovered that it wasn’t really the fear that made her feel dreadful, it was the anticipation of fear. She noticed that once she allowed herself to cross the threshold and step into her fear, that fear itself was small and vulnerable. She held the fear in her mind as if she was blind and felt it without expectation. “It was soft and fragile”, she said.  “It easily broke into sadness,” she told me.  “Holding Anjaneyasana, I breathed into the fear and let the sensations of it fill my body. There were tears and fear was released. The fear of yoga, but also the the other things I had been fearing.”

Propensities towards child-like thinking can inhibited our growth. My friend was ultimately grateful to be stretching her body, mind, and spirit.  She found gratitude in the expression and release the fear to the realization of her profound strength. My friend’s story is good reminder to check in with our thoughts, our feelings, and our physiology from time to time. We might just learn that we are not really as afraid as we thought we were.

Would you like to learn more about living mindfully?  Schedule from all around the world with Tami at attentiontoliving.com or call and talk with her today at 410-382-0518.

Unlike Vegas, Whole Foods’ clientele are all about mindfulness and compassion… until they get to the parking lot. Then it’s war. As I pull up this morning, I see a pregnant lady on the crosswalk holding a baby and groceries. This driver swerves around her and honks. As he speeds off I catch his bumper sticker, which says ‘NAMASTE’. Poor lady didn’t even hear him approaching because he was driving a Prius. He crept up on her like a panther.

As the great, sliding glass doors part I am immediately smacked in the face by a wall of cool, moist air that smells of strawberries and orchids. I leave behind the concrete jungle and enter a cornucopia of organic bliss; the land of hemp milk and honey. Seriously, think about Heaven and then think about Whole Foods; they’re basically the same.

The first thing I see is the great wall of kombucha — 42 different kinds of rotten tea. Fun fact: the word kombucha is Japanese for ‘I gizzed in your tea.’ Anyone who’s ever swallowed the glob of mucus at the end of the bottle knows exactly what I’m talking about. I believe this thing is called “The Mother,” which makes it that much creepier.

Next I see the gluten-free section filled with crackers and bread made from various wheat-substitutes such as cardboard and sawdust. I skip this aisle because I’m not rich enough to have dietary restrictions. Ever notice that you don’t meet poor people with special diet needs? A gluten intolerant house cleaner? A cab driver with Candida? Candida is what I call a rich, white person problem. You know you’ve really made it in this world when you get Candida. My personal theory is that Candida is something you get from too much hot yoga. All I’m saying is if I were a yeast, I would want to live in your yoga pants.

Next I approach the beauty aisle. There is a scary looking machine there that you put your face inside of and it tells you exactly how ugly you are. They calculate your wrinkles, sun spots, the size of your pores, etc. and compare it to other women your age. I think of myself attractive but as it turns out, I am 78 percent ugly, meaning less pretty than 78 percent of women in the world. On the popular 1-10 hotness scale used by males the world over, that makes me a 3 (if you round up, which I hope you will.) A glance at the extremely close-up picture they took of my face, in which I somehow have a glorious, blond porn mustache, tells me that 3 is about right. Especially because the left side of my face is apparently 20 percent more aged than the right. Fantastic. After contemplating ending it all here and now, I decide instead to buy their product. One bottle of delicious smelling, silky feeling creme that is maybe going to raise me from a 3 to a 4 for only $108 which is a pretty good deal when you think about it.

I grab a handful of peanut butter pretzels on my way out of this stupid aisle. I don’t feel bad about pilfering these bites because of the umpteen times that I’ve overpaid at the salad bar and been tricked into buying $108 beauty creams. The pretzels are very fattening but I’m already in the seventieth percentile of ugly so who cares.

Next I come to the vitamin aisle which is a danger zone for any broke hypochondriac. Warning: Whole Foods keeps their best people in this section. Although you think she’s a homeless person at first, that vitamin clerk is an ex-pharmaceuticals sales rep. Today she talks me into buying estrogen for my mystery mustache and Women’s Acidophilus because apparently I DO have Candida after all.

I move on to the next aisle and ask the nearest Whole Foods clerk for help. He’s wearing a visor inside and as if that weren’t douchey enough, it has one word on it in all caps. Yup, NAMASTE. I ask him where I can find whole wheat bread. He chuckles at me “Oh, we keep the poison in aisle 7.” Based solely on the attitudes of people sporting namaste paraphernalia today, I’d think it was Sanskrit for “go fuck yourself.”

I pass the table where the guy invites me to join a group cleanse he’s leading. For $179.99 I can not-eat not-alone… not-gonna-happen. They’re doing the cleanse where you consume nothing but lemon juice, cayenne pepper and fiber pills for 10 days, what’s that one called again? Oh, yeah…anorexia. I went on a cleanse once; it was a mixed blessing. On the one hand, I detoxified, I purified, I lost weight. On the other hand, I fell asleep on the highway, fantasized about eating a pigeon, and crapped my pants. I think I’ll stick with the whole eating thing.

I grab a couple of loaves of poison, and head to checkout. The fact that I’m at Whole Foods on a Sunday finally sinks in when I join the end of the line…halfway down the dog food aisle. I suddenly realize that I’m dying to get out of this store. Maybe it’s the lonely feeling of being a carnivore in a sea of vegans, or the newfound knowledge that some people’s dogs eat better than I do, but mostly I think it’s the fact that Yanni has been playing literally this entire time. Like sensory deprivation, listening to Yanni seems harmless at first, enjoyable even. But two hours in, you’ll chew your own ear off to make it stop.

A thousand minutes later, I get to the cashier. She is 95 percent beautiful. “Have you brought your reusable bags?” Fuck. No, they are at home with their 2 dozen once-used friends. She rings up my meat, alcohol, gluten and a wrapper from the chocolate bar I ate in line, with thinly veiled alarm. She scans my ladies acidophilus, gives me a pitying frown and whispers, “Ya know, if you wanna get rid of your Candida, you should stop feeding it.” She rings me up for $313. I resist the urge to unwrap and swallow whole another $6 truffle in protest. Barely. Instead, I reach for my wallet, flash her a quiet smile and say, “Namaste.”

Two Parellel Lines Extend Forever

“Two Parallel Lines Extend Forever” by T. Boehle oil paint on board, copyright 2011

The energy is a bit dicey right now with Mars and Pluto simultaneously preparing to square Uranus in Aries. It can feel dangerous.

Give thanks to yourself for your willingness to be present when the energy feels tight. Breathe in and on the out breath notice your own potential for space. Breathe again, and notice the increased space. Allow yourself to fully appreciate the added room. Third breath, breathing in for the count of 4, holding for 2, and exhaling for 6. Enjoy the sensation of relaxed. Notice it at the bottoms of your feet and the palms of your hands.

It is all good and it will be fine.

Kneeling cow and kneeling cat provide arches and curls that flex the spine, massage the belly, and help release serotonin, the mood-regulating chemical that takes from grumpy to good!

Start on hands and knees, fingers spread.  Inhale and arch back, tilting sitting bones up.  Pull shoulders back and look forward.

Exhale a you round your back.  Tuck your tailbone, letting shoulder blades spread and drop chin toward chest.  Draw in toward your navel. Repeat until you bust your bad mood!