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Some of you may remember when I was writing the newsletters for the yoga studio I use to own.  There was one particular issue where I detailed a mountain bike ride I had with my husband.  If you don’t remember it, it was basically a story of my fear, lack of skill, and really FEAR about mountain biking.  And, in that account my husband had me come along, and I made it through and learned a process of letting go to enjoy the ride.

Well, that has been many moons ago, and I went on my second ever trail ride with my husband yesterday.  EVERYTHING in that passage still rang true.  I was still terrified of every root, every bump and every steep decline.  It was still hard for me to “let go” in that way.  For my husband and many others out there it is not.  As he shouted back at me during mile 2 [after I had fallen down in the dirt once and been stopped on every rough hill and kept yelling, “I can’t!  OUCH!”] he threw my blog post from yesterday back at me.  He shouted “Find the beauty”.  Touche’ Mr. King.  I promptly responded back with just as much smart-a** sarcasm, “You find the beauty.  This is not my beauty.”

But, hey, in the end it was fun.  We had fun together, and I tried to enjoy something that he really loves.  And, we got an awesome workout in the process.  AND, what I learned during yesterday’s ride is that there was beauty in that ride for me.  While it is still a lesson in letting go, now in my life the lesson was more embracing my handicaps.  Helen Keller said, “I thank God for my handicaps, for through them I have found myself, my work, and my God.”  The beauty in that ride for me was understanding what my handicaps are and being just fine with them.  I am not a risk taker on the trail.  It’s okay if I would rather hop off my bike and push it up the hill that is covered in tree roots and sharp curve that immediately throws you down a steep hill.  My mind tells me “STOP!  You are going to die!”.  While that is probably a little dramatic, it is a true feeling for me.  And that is okay.  Struggling is okay, because it means you are pushing yourself beyond comfortable limits and that is where growth starts.  By continuing to pedal even through fear and discomfort, I embraced my handicaps.  What I do know is that I am an endurance athlete.  Give me a 2 hour vinyasa or a long slow 13.1 miles, and I am a happy camper.  My husband kept asking me if I needed a break.  I said “no, keep going, the long stretches are the only part I enjoy”!

So, there is my beauty.  Just as I mentioned yesterday, Rolf Gates says “dharma is a gift from God inscribed upon the heart”.  Our practice is the inhale that helps us prepare.  The result, the exhale, is the manifestation of all that preparation.  And that doesn’t come without the bumps and the uphill.  So the beauty is the struggling up the hill, the resistance to the practice, the fear of the unknown.  The beauty is in our handicaps, because they make us who we are and they show us the possibility for growth and the light at the end of the trail.  I know I will always struggle with those trail rides, but they will always shine light on my true talents and initiate growth either physically or mentally.

So, today I thank God for my handicaps, because without them I would never know where my talents lie and how to reach my full potential.  I know my husband is reading this.  And, I know he thinks he “got me” with that “find your beauty, Jessica. ha, ha, ha”.  But, Mr. King, I have once again turned lemons in to lemonade, and I know that makes you crazy.  But, I also know you are smiling right now 🙂  Thank you for showing me my handicaps, because it is with you I find myself, I find my work, and I find my God.

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“Let the beauty that you love be what you do.” – Rumi

I am ruminating on this one today.  I picked up Meditation from the Mat by Rolf Gates again this week.  I have read the whole book once and many of the passages several times.  It seems that wherever I open up and flip to the message seems to be just what I need to think about.  Today I flipped it open and read this quote…. “let the beauty that you love be what you do.”

It is so easy to get caught up in what we think we should do; what our relatives think we ought to be doing; what we think we need to do to match our neighbors. It is all these outside sources weighing down on our decisions that cause the difficulty in just living our life happily.  While it is hard to really dig deep and find what it is that is our life’s purpose (our dharma), it is not so hard to just wake up each day and do something we love.  Each day wake up and make a step closer to doing what it is you love.  Even if it is one minute out of the workday of the job that is stressful.  Even if it is after work when you are tired and unmotivated.  Think that is “the beauty that I love” and do something to make it happen in your life.   Rolf gates says, “Dharma is a gift from God inscribed up on the heart…[it] is what makes you you.”  We cannot deny ourselves our God-given gifts and those things that we love.  We must make our minds clear enough to see them and then move towards it.

Maybe you love your yoga practice…I know I DO!  I thought of this today while I practiced.  Our yoga practice is preparation for seeing and living our dharma.  Sometimes we are motivated by outside sources to practice – our own self-criticism of our bodies or our minds or our own need to beat what our neighbor is doing in practice today.  But, eventually the practice wears away at the self-doubt, the criticism and the competition.  It begins to prepare our bodies and our minds for living our dreams without self-doubt and criticism.  As I practiced today I remembered the passage I read from Meditations from the Mat this morning that said, “Coming to the mat, we prepare; going forth into our lives, we shine.  Our practice is an inhalation, our dharma is an exhalation.”  As I inhaled, I prepared; as I exhaled, I went deeper into the posture.  I had a really great practice today.  In turn, my day has been happier, more productive, and lighter than it has been in many days.  I see clearer what I am doing and how I can move forward not only in my practice, but my life.

“Our practice is an inhalation, our dharma is an exhalation.”  Thank you Rolf Gates for the inspiration to move forward into the week.  Happy Monday everyone!

 

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Current Class Schedule
Wilmington, NC

Tuesday
10:30 AM Vinyasa at Gold's Gym-Porter's Neck

Wednesday
8:15 AM Run to Yoga at Wilmington Athletic Club

6 PM Yoga for Athletes at Wilmington Performance Lab

Thursday
6:45 PM Vinyasa at Gold's Gym-Racine

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WEEKEND WORKSHOP -
INVERSIONS: TURN YOUR WORLD UPSIDE DOWN
MARCH 9TH
WILMINGTON PERFORMANCE LAB

MARCH 16TH - MINT HILL YOGA
VINYASA FLOW 9 AM - 11 AM
YOGA FOR ATHLETES 1 PM - 3 PM

MARCH 17TH - MINT HILL YOGA
THE ART OF ASSISTS AND ADJUSTMENTS
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WILMINGTON, NC

Jessica Hagler King

"Ideal teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross, then having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create bridges of their own." -- Nikos Kazantzakis
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. -Theodore Roosevelt