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I have several very close family members who are complete carnivores. Now, I have not been a practicing Vegetarian for long, and I do make exceptions for oysters. However, there is one other exception I have learned to make, that is dinner with the family.

You know the situation, I am sure. I believe that the particular family member I am thinking of does try to accommodate. There are usually plenty of side items at her table. However, she has never asked why I decided to abstain from meat. I cannot bring myself to explain it to her either. As a child she struggled for survival in a way most of us could never understand. For someone who scraped by so, and whose culture considers meat an essential part of every meal and even snack, I can imagine it is confusing.

We are often invited to her house for dinner. I have tried the reverse, having she and her husband over, but this just never seems to work out. In every other way she is warm and loving, and for her an offer of food is as much an offer of love as a hug or kiss is. I understand and respect those of you that disagree. However, I just cannot turn away her meal.

In reading this, I sound slightly in angst. I am not. I have accepted this and love her happily. I am wondering though, have you been there? What did you do?

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Wonderful yoga today! After a brisk 32 degree run with my husband, we practiced some of the postures learned from this week’s Yoga for Runners workshop courtesy of Lululemon and Yoga Den. Just 15 minutes, but so necessary to warm and lengthen cold muscles. And, I love doing yoga with my husband. It is just the best thing ever. (Hearts.)

For lunch, my co-worker and I practiced in her beautiful office overlooking a lake here in Orange Park, Florida. She is another friend-turned-student who has been gracious enough to let me practice teaching. After a supine warm up, involving flexing and movement of ankles, knees and hips, we moved the spine through Cat Cow and then a gentle Down Dog. A few Surya A’s and then a focus on hips through the Warrior sequences, Side Angle and Triangle.

She was so present during the practice, and so intensely focused on each posture. I think of my journey on the mat and can’t help but smile at what is in store for her!

So, this week was an amazing week! Monday night I had the opportunity to teach a beginning yoga student, a friend of mine looking for instruction in postures and breathing basics before she heads back into a studio.

 It reminded me of that exersise from Summer Camp where the goal is to build a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Sounds easy, but there are two of you, one who does the building and one who does the instructing. If the instructor does not mention EVERYTHING, from taking the lid off the jar to holding the knife by the handle, then things can get very messy very quickly.

It was a little like that. More so, it was an excersise in deconstructing my assumptions. For example, thinking that everyone knows how to do downward dog. Not the case. My friend is definitely fit, and she has done yoga before, but her version of DD was a plank/DD hybrid. Helping her into a more restorative pose proved challenging as I realized for the first time a certain amount of mobility in the shoulders and chest is required.

Moing on, I gave my second Yoga talk at work. We focused on breath and learned Ujjayi and Dirgha techniques. Last, I demo’d my fusion flow idea for another teacher. She actually had me teach her scheduled class for her! I lead 3 students through the flow and afterwords received their feedback. This sent me flying for the rest of the night.

Hang on to your hats! This is getting good!

I showed up for our second teacher training weekend Saturday morning worried I would be late. Flying down 295 I kept checking the clock, “7:45,” ohhhhkay, “7:50,” gulp, then ” 7:55, oh but wait it’s 7 minutes fast which means I actually have 12, no 17 no, shoot, 12 that’s right 12 minutes. I’m good.”

I park, fly up the stairs and Alyson, zenned out behind the desk says “Oh Shae! You’re early! Are you going to do the power class too?” Ummm what? And that started the weekend. 90 minutes of intense power, that is a great class by the way, the 90 minute Sun Power on Saturday mornings. Those people like to sweat! Then a full Yogalates class with Wendy, who I secretly think with her amazing strength and stamina must be a super heroine of some kind. With her cape in the car for emergencies and her mat and Pilates ball she battles evil, weak abs and inflexibility all across Jacksonville. I stumbled out of class, soaking wet and kind of buzzed, and immediately changed clothes.

We did our circle and talked about the month, and it struck me how much people deal with on a day to day basis and why something like yoga is so important in life. In our society there is not room for mediation, quiet and self examination. We literally carve time from our busy day to make these things happen. For me, it has come in the form of waking up at 5:30 or 6 in the mornings on the weekdays for time to center. 

In our group we have had serious life changing events in the last 3 months, and these people are making time for yoga. And that is really the point of this post- making time. In my last post I made a commitment to increase my practice and work on diet in order to have a stronger practice. This post is about a commitment to carving the time out to meditate, study the history of this tradition, and build the karmic side of my yoga practice.

Welcome to Salutations from Anjali. My wish is for this to be a journal of sorts, documenting my initial yoga teacher training with Alyson Foracre at Yoga Den in Jacksonville, Florida http://www.yoga-den.com/ . This is a 9 month program and I am excited and nervous, and after my first weekendled about the possibilities.

Our program is made up of all types of people. We have very fit bodies, looking for a way to avoid injury and hopefully pass that knowledge on, to people engaged in their own quest for peace, and those that are truly turning over a new leaf. For me, I hope to have the courage to continue to ask questions- however minute they might be, about postures I have been practicing for quite a while. I also hope to cultivate a daily practice of both deliberate Karmic Yoga and Hatha Yoga. This can only be done through a deeper understanding of the practice’s metaphysical aspects, I understand.

This journey will not end in 9 months, when the training is over. It will continue my whole life. This blog will likely take on different names and forms. However, at the beginning, Salutations from Anjai is symbolic of my hopes for future direction. Salutations in homage to Surya Namaskar, the Sun Salutation, the beginning of most vigorous flows and a wonderful way to open one’s heart and thank the universe for all that is. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surya_Namaskara

And Anjali, an ancient Sanskrit word meaning a divine blessing or offering, is what I hope to call my own roving Yoga practice, and possible my studio someday. Daily Anjali, or daily blessings, my tiny contribution to the universal vibe. I hope that I put out as much positive energy as I seem to receive every day. And that is today’s intention.

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