Yoga with Kris

I am starting to really find a balance now between my organized mind and my disorganized ways. The latter, I honestly feel, is through no fault of mine; it is by circumstance only and very little by choice. I am almost done opening all my birthday and Christmas presents. My Christmas in February is almost over and the house is slowly, thankfully falling into some semblance of order once again. I am mighty proud of the way I have packed and stored our Christmas decor, all of them properly and carefully cleaned, the breakables individually bubble-wrapped, the hand-crafted ones safe in Ziploc bags. Color-coded, they rest comfortably in uniform boxes, specifically labeled. They are ready for next Christmas.

Our kitchen is about to be ripped apart, albeit in a good way. We are renovating to make it more efficient, especially because it is the busiest space in the house. Everything that belongs in the kitchen is in the process of being relocated, for the meantime, to other areas around the house. Bowls and plates and gadgets and everything else in between will have to sit atop industrial steel shelves that Richard got somewhere, all of them covered with cloth to keep the dust away. It should take a couple of weeks before everything is where it should be. The house is still in disarray, but when it’s all done, it should be neater because of the extra storage space.

For now, this is the storm before the calm.

So I take it a day at a time, I do what I can. I live in the present moment, which means I have learned not to wish to exist in a space I cannot possibly be in just yet. Doing that leaves no room for frustrations. At the first sign of restlessness, I bring Eckhart Tolle and the core of Centering Prayer gently into my circumstance, soothed by the remembrance that where I am is exactly where I am supposed to be.

At the moment, it is in our little backyard at 2:30 a.m., a man-boy beside me, dissecting his young life and the way it is going, yet another man in front of us, much older, tinkering with his laptop playing the nicest music from the ‘80s, quietly soothing us all with its simple familiarity. The songs then were not as complicated as they are now. It was much nicer then, or at least I think. But that’s just me. My husband is enjoying the night in his own way, intermittently feeding everyone and working on his own laptop, multi-tasking as usual.

There are glasses and nibbles in front of us. We are really not talking as a group; we are just together, each one lost in a different pocket of time and activity. I’m thinking that maybe we are all making the most out of whatever little is left of the Siberian winds. Yes, the night is breezy, especially at this ungodly hour, but we all know it is slipping away soon, and that the summer months and its royal hotness will be here way before we wish it to actually come.

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I am finding a balance finally, because despite the many things I still have to cross off my to-do list, I feel hopeful and upbeat about getting it all done. There is a skip in my step despite the bigness of all that isn’t yet. Gentle surrender, if you will. I know things are what they are, and that they will be what they will be. I see the dust settling somehow. Every day I see progress on the home-organizing front.

How simple can it get? I just do my best not to resist the natural flow of things anymore. I refuse to collide with what cannot yet be. Sige lang. There will be a time for everything.

Maybe it is all the yoga I am doing. I will be forever grateful to Kris for turning me on to it. The third time’s the charm, apparently. As a new bride years ago I tried yoga. I remember it was late in the afternoon and my friends and I went to this place in some posh subdivision. A dada-someone conducted the yoga session. It was sooooooooo slow I fell asleep. The person beside me was snoring loudly. Seriously. And I mean no disrespect when I say that. All we did was breathe, sit, breathe, lie down, breathe again. There were many long gaps in between. We were not required to twist like pretzels, not even like baby pretzels; no effort was asked of us. But then again it was our first class. Strangely we all felt drained and dazed after, sluggish I dare say, recovering only after we each ate a huge bowl of lugaw. We never went back again. Many months later we were told he was a fake dada-something. Oh, well. What do we say to that? We just laughed our heads off.

Just last year, on a whim, I dragged my husband and our friend Mike to a Bikram yoga class. I liked the feeling after; it was energizing. But the experience during the session was another thing altogether. The intense heat required in class really shriveled and zapped me of most of my energy; it had total disregard for even just a bit of comfort. All the calories I had taken before the class proved to be no match. I was panting by the fifth minute like my brother’s little dog, Gaston. But I kept at it, so did Richard and Mike. It was the longest hour in my life.

Richard was the only one who survived it in one piece. Mike and I wobbled like warm Jell-O in a bowl all the way home. Ironically, I still had every intention of going back, if only because I really liked how I felt after. I rationalized that although Bikram yoga was not something I fell in love with at first try, it had the potential of growing on me.   But then I got so busy. Until I one day I just stopped thinking about it.

And then hatha yoga came along and I was effortlessly sucked into its gentle, graceful rhythm, was soothed around the edges by the calmness of it all. I liked it immediately, no buts, and I looked forward to class each time. It is not always a breeze. Our yogini makes us work hard, but it never feels like a chore. Kris and I do it twice a week together, although she goes on other days, too, all by herself. She is more flexible than I am, her hands reaching her toes easily. Mine don’t; it is a struggle, but a happy one. It teaches me to be patient, to respect how things happen in their own time. One day, I will be able to reach my toes, too, palms flat on the floor, without bending my knees. It is a nice way for us to bond. After class we sit on the wooden benches and drink hot tea in tiny white cups that tastes so good, mentally thanking ourselves for sweating it out and taking charge of our wellness, finding strange satisfaction in our tired muscles. We catch up on what we have been up to during the week, and then we go our separate ways, energized from the inside out to take on the challenges of whatever is left of the day.

I am more in tune with my body now; I respect it more than I did in the past years. Maybe this is why I now think twice before I take on a second, and sometimes limitless, serving of chicharon bulaklak, french fries and ice cream. I am really learning more and more to eat healthy, to value sleep (although I really have to get into the habit of being in bed by 10 p.m.), to know the importance of recharging. I relish my quiet time. I procrastinate over little chores less. I am learning with conviction how to say no without feeling guilty, especially if it means freeing up my schedule to spend more quality time with loved ones.

Balance. I am finding my balance. The less I resist, the better. Things really do have a way of falling into place.

All is well in my world. I think of this as I head to the kitchen to get some mango jam, butter cookies, and a glass of soy milk. What could be a better snack very early in the morning, just right before I go to sleep?

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