I had a horrible dream last night. About an hour before I went to bed I watched a heartbreaking video of a little boy who was so scared, angry, and sad. It got under my skin enough to show up in my dreams. I generally can’t look at anything more interesting than an IKEA catalog before I go to bed. I am no stranger to bad dreams. When I was a little kid I had a recurring nightmare about being sent to live far out in the desert, with relatives I had never met, where I was forced to walk around a building all day. I remember I had this dream for a particularly long stretch, and it was only interrupted by my mom sleeping with me. That night, with my mom at my side, I dreamed that Ed McMahon rescued me; appearing in a golden helicopter, and plucked me right off the ground. My parents were big Johnny Carson fans, obviously.
I was grateful this morning to have to teach yoga. I had to focus on the words coming out of my mouth, and the movements of my body. It was a relief to my shook-up heart to feel my body stretch, twist, and rest for a while, instead of the anxious heart beat and twitchy hands from feeling so scared.
I started my Daily Practice Guide today, (yes, on a Tuesday in the middle of October) because I needed something to do with my hands. When I feel like this I will often appease my yucky feelings by looking at Facebook on my phone, eating all the chocolate, pouring bags of chips in my mouth, and drinking far more coffee than is helpful. I just need to do something with my hands! Know what I mean? It is for times just like this one that I wrote All Together Now – Daily Practice Guide. The meditation practice this week is dharana which simply means focused concentration. I held a wee pumpkin in my hand to focus my attention on it. It was a perfect weight, temperature, texture, and size to fit in my hands. I was grateful to have this bright orange beauty to keep me present in my body, and not stuck replaying nightmares in my mind.
Did you know that I wrote you this 12 month Daily Practice Guide called All Together Now, so that you can have a 15-20 minute daily yoga practice with me, and all the rest of us that need some direction and companionship in the effort? It’s an actual book. It’s a wee book, but much bigger than a booklet. Each month has a theme (instead of January, February, March) that is the Meditation Mantra of the Month. And each month has 4 weekly practices that take you deeper into the theme. The intent being that you do the practice every day for a week…get it? Each 15-20 minute practice has a mind, body, and spirit activity. You actually chose the physical practice to do for 5-10 minutes. There are 5 yoga sequences for you to follow, if you need some guidance on what to do with yourself for that time. They are all really doable, for everyone. I think you will find that even 5-10 minutes of the physical practice of yoga can make a really significant difference. Obviously this 15-20 minute practice isn’t to take the place of a whole yoga class, or I would be working my way out of a job.
I wrote this book for days just like the one I’m having, when you struggle to shake off your bad dream, shift your mood, and just show up a little different. And it’s for the day after that too when you’re feeling more clear-headed. I hope it becomes a practice like brushing your teeth. Assuming you don’t just brush your teeth the night before you go to the dentist, or after you’ve had a pot of coffee and handfuls of Halloween candy.
My good friend (and fellow Wisconsinite) Jessie, of Jessie Marie Studio, was the graphic designer, organizational method, and mind reader of my thoughts, for this project. I sent her pictures of me doing the poses and she drew the picture on it — aren’t they wonderful? They really look like me! I wanted this to be a usable, practical book that gets worn out from years of use. I hope it will be something you need to duct tape together in a few years. And if it takes you a while to get into the rhythm of a daily practice — ease the heck up on yourself. Maybe you do it on Mondays and Fridays or some other constellation of “daily practice”. Do what is going to make it work for you to actually Do It and not should on yourself about it. Please don’t let this be another reason to should on you or others. Please. No Shoulding.
You can purchase All Together Now – Daily Practice Guide at my store at dailybreadyoga.life (which is where you are reading this blog post). They are $25 each and I think it would make a wonderful birthday present, Hanukkah gift, or maybe a stocking-stuffer for grown adults!
I think I’ll probably hold my sweet pumpkin before I go to bed tonight too. Maybe I’ll dream about pumpkin bars, pumpkin pie, oh those yummy, salty roasted pumpkin seeds. yum.
Peace on your head, You — Rachel