Yet Laced

From an overpass
On a high linear track
I peered through gray train glass
Uncharted homes,
Stack of tin, trick of twine;
Uncounted people counting on the owner
Not bulldozing the land that day.
Over the backside of the hill
Small white flowers lay
Front yard of the underpass
Sprawled through wispy grass
Spilling down the black muddy bank
Into the littered bay
And culminating in a mass of silt and grime:
the black from the train
And the stray pollutant strained lime
Grain of trash bedded down
In the lifeless waterway
Yet laced with small white flowers
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Monday-to-Monday Yoga

Why “Monday-to-Monday” yoga? Read more here: http://wp.me/p3PPzA-2.

Or, just get your yoga on! I like to do ten breaths per pose. Sometimes I hold a pose longer, but at least 10 breaths ensures I’m not rushing.

Mountain pose
Forward bend
Plank
Cobra
Downward dog
Runner’s Pose – Left Foot Forward
Triangle Pose – Left Foot Forward
Twisted Triangle Pose – Left Foot Forward
Plank
Cobra
Downward dog
Runner’s Pose – Right Foot Forward
Triangle Pose – Right Foot Forward
Twisted Triangle Pose – Right Foot Forward
Full Squat
Backward Bend

Mountain pose: Stand straight, distribute weight evenly across feet to root your body to the ground. Spend your time in this pose to align the body.
Forward bend: Either roll the spine forward, stretching your back as you go, or do a swan dive forward, keeping your back straight. At the bottom (wherever that is for you!), let your arms, head, and shoulders relax, sinking toward the floor. Maintain the feeling of groundedness developed during mountain pose.
Plank: Slide your hands forward or your feet backward to come into plank. Straight back, tight abs, strong arms, feet pressed backward. Take the weight off your wrists by bending your fingers slightly and pressing your fingertips into the floor.
Cobra: Slowly do a push up into low plank, then straighten the arms again, leaving the body low so that the back is bent and the head stretches toward the ceiling.
Downward dog: In a fluid motion, pull the midsection upward to come into downward dog, using your body to create a triangle with the floor.
Runner’s Pose – Left Foot Forward: Lift your left foot high into the air and swing it through to land between your hands. Lower into runner’s pose, front knee bent, back leg straight. Hands beside feet, either on the floor or hovering over the floor.
Triangle Pose – Left Foot Forward: Straighten your knee, place your left hand on the floor or on your left shin, and reach your right hand toward the ceiling.
Twisted Triangle Pose – Left Foot Forward: Put your right hand down on the floor or on your shin and twist in the other direction, reaching the left hand toward the ceiling. Keep feet grounded.
Plank: Come back center and slide into plank.
Cobra: Repeat cobra pose.
Downward dog: Repeat downward dog.
Runner’s Pose – Right Foot Forward: Repeat sequence with right leg forward.
Triangle Pose – Right Foot Forward: Repeat sequence with right leg forward.
Twisted Triangle Pose – Right Foot Forward: Repeat sequence with right leg forward.
Full Squat: Come back center and bring feet together. Straighten up into mountain pose briefly, palms together this time and hands extended upward. Bend your knees into a full squat, driving heels into the floor and gently pressing elbows into the inner part of your knees. Optionally, move into crane: put hands on floor and lift feet off ground, balancing knees on elbows. (This is a more advanced pose, so please research it if you are not familiar with it.)
Backward Bend: Straighten legs to come out of squat and, from mountain pose, bend backward gently, keeping your legs straight and your hips aligned. Finish in mountain pose.

Picking up Sticks

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My two-year-old and I have a tradition of taking a walk down the block after dinner, and this always turns into a stick-picking-up fest. We always come home with about a bushel of sticks tucked into our pockets and under our arms. Tonight, he came to a great big branch and I jumped right on him (I can be SUCH a know-it-all): “Honey, that one’s a little too big.” He asked me to carry it. Feeling lazy, I white-lied: “Honey, that one’s even too big for Mama.” Not to be deterred, he picked up the whole dang branch. By himself. And carried it for almost a full block. Dragging, scraping, grunting, and groaning, but carrying it, when I would have sworn he wouldn’t even be able to pick it up.

I underestimate him all the time.

I underestimate me all the time.

What’s the worst that could usually happen? Sure, I might have to drag, scrape, grunt, and groan my way through something, but how will I ever know whether I can do it if I always start out with, “Honey, that one’s a little too big”?

Eventually, little boy arms get tired, and my son had to hand me the branch, which I was pleased to carry home for him. Sometimes we might take on something that’s a little too big and have to hand it off to someone else or ask for help. I love how kids below a certain age are never prideful about that. I love their audacity in taking on new challenges. I love that my son ignored my wimpy protestations tonight. I’ll love it if tomorrow I haven’t lost my motivation to start picking up more sticks in life… and deciding after I try whether or not they’re too big.

Monday-to-Monday Yoga

“I should do more yoga.”

…I should have a dollar for every time I’ve uttered that phrase. Then I would be crazy rich and I could retire and do yoga all the time.

I’m guessing everyone has their excuses for not doing more yoga, and maybe yours sound something like mine: I want to, but without a set routine, I do it for, like, five minutes and then quit. And if I find a set routine, I get sick of it. And if I decide to “Google” a new routine every time I want to get my yoga on, it’ll never happen. And so it never happens.

Well, this very day I have decided to start a new tradition. It’s called Monday-to-Monday yoga. Every Monday, I will write down a short sequence of yoga poses, incorporating any new ones I want to try, and I will do that sequence every day until the next Monday, holding each pose for 10 breaths.

So, without further ado, may I present this week’s yoga sequence:

Sphinx
Child’s pose
Cat/Cow
Downward dog
One-legged d. dog on each side
High lunge twist
Forward fold with twist
Roll back into plow
Roll up to boat pose
Roll down, half-bridge pose
Supine twist
Corpse pose

Sphinx: Lay on your stomach, propped up on your forearms. Push your chest upward and lean your head back.
Child’s pose: From sphinx, push yourself up on your hands and slide back until you are sitting on your heels, but your face and arms should still be on the ground, arms stretched out before you.
Cat/Cow: Lift yourself up so that you are on your hands and knees. Tilt your head down and arch your back like a cat. Then arch your back in the opposite direction, pressing your stomach and chest toward the floor, and look up at the ceiling.
Downward dog: Come straight up from cat/cow, unbending your knees and using your body to create a triangle with the floor.
One-legged d. dog on each side: Lift one leg, keeping it straight, as high as you can. Then switch.
High lunge twist: Swing the currently lifted leg forward so that your foot lands between your hands. Come up into a lunge. Put your arms out straight, like airplane wings. Twist one direction and hold. Twist the other direction and hold.
Forward fold with twist: Come out of the lunge and stand with your feet should-width apart. Fold forward until your hands touch the ground (or as close as you can get ’em). Twist so that you are lifting one straight arm and your face toward the ceiling. Hold and then switch.
Roll back into plow: Stand up. Roll all the way back like you are going to do a backwards somersault, but stop when your feet hit the floor behind your head (or as far as you can get ’em). Straighten your legs and hold.
Roll up to boat pose: Roll forward and sit halfway up, so that your torso is at about a 45-degree angle to the floor, and your (straight) legs are as well. Put your arms straight out in front of you and hold.
Roll down, half-bridge pose: Roll back down to your back, more slowly this time. Place your arms flat at your sides. Bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the floor, and lift your hips and legs as high as you comfortably can. Now hoooold it…
Supine twist: Lower your hips and straighten your legs. Lift one leg straight into the air and, keeping it straight, reach it as far across the other leg as you can. Hold, and then switch.
Corpse pose: Straighten both of your legs and rest them on the ground. Have your arms at your sides. Relax every little muscle you’ve got.