Destination True North

Updated: 06:54 March 4, 2014

What's Your Dream?

Have you ever had a moment when you realized you had to make a choice between staid status quo and living an adventure, a dream?
 
Perhaps, there was nothing wrong with life in the here and now,  or perhaps you were facing heartache or a challenge that felt like a mountain of worldly and life tests. I've experienced both.
 
What I have discovered is the one key ingredient to growth, aside from an open mind,  is to listen to the song of life and sometimes, (yes, really, even if your teeth are grinding) take the leap!
From the time I was a child, I've wanted to see all of Africa.  I dreamed of seeing the 'big five' (African elephant, lion, Cape buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros) in their own habitat. I've yearned to see Kilimanjaro and Cape Town and go on a safari in Kenya and Tanzania and lie on the beach in Zanzibar.
 
I finally decided to take the plunge, and I'm going to Namibia, Africa's third youngest country, at the end of March.  
 
I will be spending time with the Himba tribe, flying over the "Skeleton Coast' and going on Safari.  We will also be visiting the Cheetah Conservation Fund, run by an American woman named Laurie Marker, who has dedicated her life to saving the cheetah.
 
I watched a TED talk she recently gave and was blown away by her love for these beautiful animals.  Thank God for the Laurie Markers of the world, because these beautiful cats are in danger of being extinct within the next 20 years.
 
To think of living in a world without lions or elephants or cheetahs or any other amazing animal makes my heart break. I know that I need to do something, however small, to make a difference. Laurie Marker inspires me to be a better person.
 
It is travel that is one of the instruments that truly changes us. When we see and experience things firsthand , we can easily commit to being a part of the change in the world.
 
Moreover, I am in agreement with Teddy Roosevelt. When asked why he was journeying to the Amazon, he said,  "I had to go, it was my last chance to be a boy."
 
Yes,  this trip is necessary and worth every penny saved through the years. My five-year-old inner me is finally going to see the continent of my dreams and I feel so very alive....

Comments
Updated: 08:23 October 6, 2013

Don't Let Passion Slip Away!

How many times have you said you wanted to do something—you've pined away for going to an event or taking up a passion—and somehow it doesn't happen. It's not that the hands of times slip idly through your fingertips...it's simply that, if you are anything like yours truly, you get sidetracked and you unwittingly put your passions on the backburner.

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of passions that are alive and well in Heidiland.  But I'm talking about our crazy schedules, folks...there is the work week, the chores, the friends and family to follow up with, the pets to walk, the bills to be paid, the laundry,etc.  We all know what  happens when events, efforts and people fill a typical week. Our dreams and aspirations can get easily sidetracked.

Geeking Out About Heirloom

I have always loved the taste of an heirloom tomato. I'm a bit of a geek in that way. I've also always been enamored by American history and would put a trip to Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello, on the top of my bucket list any old day. The man has always intrigued me. You could say I had a crush on TJ when I was a kid...yes,  I could get a lifetime membership to geekdom and the idea puts a smile on my face.

That's when we know we are 'on to something'.  For months prior to the Monticello Seed and Heritage Festival, I had talked about going. Yes, many friends are yin to my yang. I love seeds, getting my fingernails full of dirt, and studying the natural world.

The festival was advertising classes that made my soul sing: an introduction to fermentation,  vinegar making,  Native American medicinal plants,  elderberry syrup as an elixir, to name a few. Moreover, it was about preserving heirloom seeds and supporting local businesses, sustainability topics that are far too important to ignore in my eyes.

Time slipped away and I didn't know whether or not I would go. I had mentioned the festival to various friends and no one seemed interested. And then I had a talk with myself.  How often had I stopped myself from doing something that instantly made me feel more alive? Have you ever had that experience?  I resolved to go to the festival, even if I went by myself.

The Universe Responds

And then a law of the universe made it's presence know: I casually mentioned the festival to my good friend Wendee and she got on board the bandwagon. Saying 'yes' to our passions really does make a difference. 

Have you ever had the experience of having the universe resonate with your life's purpose when you listened to what really mattered to you?  I know what I love..but sometimes the noise of the 21st century and 'obligations' can make me turn off the switch to what makes me feel truly alive.

I'll give you another example,  a dear friend of mine is a very gifted writer. Like most of the rest of the world, she has to earn a living. Her work ethic is impeccable. She works and works and works. But my friend is a very talented writer, she brings people's stories to life. Recently, she composed a piece on a dying breed of people, Yankees, and her profiles on these elders is a masterpiece. I cried when I read her article and told her how much it moved me. When the story broke, people reached out to her throughout the day to share how much it meant.

The people in the article are remarkable for one reason alone. They are authentic. They are who they are and they have no need to be anything but true to themselves. There is no Facebook in their daily lives, no need to impress others, no conspicuous consumption. They are 'real' and it is a reminder of how precious that commodity is.  

What's Your True North?

My friend followed her 'true north' by writing that piece. And she glows when she talks about other projects she might do that are similar.  There is no denying who we really are,  we just have to listen to what makes us glow and feel alive.  I would love it if you could share a similar story!

Here's to attending the  Monticello and the Seed & Heritage Festival in 2014.  Bring it on!

About the Author: Heidi Boone is a sales professional on the outside and a tree hugger on the inside. She strives for well-being at every level and blogs about her experiences with yoga, eating a largely plant-based diet, and exploring the many ways to make the journey both joyous and life affirming.

 

Comments
Updated: 08:13 June 27, 2013

Garden Therapy

 

There is nothing like gardening to restore your faith in the nature of things. And, I want to support the efforts of those who are dedicated to growing things—to buy locally and to be more connected to the source. 

I've made a vow to myself this summer to visit supermarkets as little as possible. Instead, I'm tending to my raised beds of vegetables, supporting a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), and visiting local farmer's markets. The experience of finding food sources in this way is a lot more connected and rewarding.

Good Morning, Carrots!

Every morning, I bring my dogs for a walk. It's a beautiful way to greet the new day.  First, there is coffee and a few moments of meditation and then I get ready for work, grab my pup's leashes and head out to take them for a walk in a beautiful wooded area nearby. 

But now we make a detour to take a look at my raised beds of veggies. Yes, I know, terribly exciting to some, but to those of you who adore putting your hands in the earth and eating food that is taken from the ground and not wrapped in cellophane, well, you understand. You know how meditative it is to connect with nature, how calming it can be . . . how centering.

I feel like a seven-year-old once again. Yes, it's been THAT long since I last planted a garden, but I still remember the thrill of watching radishes and carrots grow and being completely enchanted with the beauty of each plant. Don't you think kids should know what an eggplant looks like before it's picked? 

The garden has several different varieties of heirloom tomatoes, carrots, Swiss chard and kale, basil (for pesto) and other herbs, several different types of zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, Armenian cucumbers (I was curious and couldn't resist), and butternut squash. 

Gardening is just about the best therapy on the planet, in my eyes. I can get lost in touching plants and weeding is a delight. The raised beds make the process very easy.  

Supporting Local Farmers

As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, I joined a CSA for 'backup'.  Farmer Dave's in Dracut, Massachusetts, is truly awesome! I highly recommend joining a CSA for many reasons. Some of the main reasons being you are eating freshly picked vegetables (and fruits) that are, for all intents and purposes, largely organic.

At Farmer Dave's over 95% of the produce is not treated with any pesticides. Freshly picked food is also more nutrient dense, hence, it's better for you and your loved ones.  And, just as importantly, you are supporting a local farmer and you are limiting your footprint in a significant manner.  My CSA gives any excess to their “hunger relief partners.” Talk about a truly sustainable effort!

Local farmer's markets are also a great resource. Do you have any favorites?  I'm venturing out to area markets over the next few months. There is a lovely market in Andover, Massachusetts, that is held on Saturday afternoons. And, the Newburyport Farmer's Market is also a favorite!  Here is a great website for finding food that is grown locally www.localharvest.org.You will notice that natural food stores and co-ops are also great sources for local food.

If you care to share any great finds, I am all ears!

My job is stressful at times. It is the small things that we do daily that turn out to be the most important. Taking the time to center our thoughts, enjoy the moment, and take in a few deep breaths is about as calming as life gets. I find that is an easier practice to adopt when I am surrounded by plants. What about you?

 

 

About Heidi Boone

Heidi Boone is a sales professional on the outside and a tree hugger on the inside. She strives for well-being at every level and blogs about her experiences with yoga, eating a largely plant-based diet, and exploring the many ways to make the journey both joyous and life affirming.

 

Comments
Updated: 08:38 May 9, 2013

Plant Happy!

 

I’m totally plant happy. When I become passionate about something, it can really take on a whole new meaning in my life. It’s always been like that.

When I was a kid my father said I had an addictive personality. If I loved something, I became a golden retriever and couldn’t get enough. I discovered this when my parents gave me a roll of Life Savers. I loved them. There was no shut-off valve. The roll would be gone in no time.

It’s been like that with everything I’ve loved throughout my life, but one of the biggest silver linings to growing older is temperance. I now know it’s wiser to have healthier addictions than Life Savers, potato chips, and wine. Maybe addiction is hereditary. One of my relatives had a bar in his Cadillac, but we all have choices to make!

The good news is I know I can get addicted to all sorts of things, so let’s just say becoming addicted to creating recipes, doing yoga, and plantings things is a very good idea.

Enjoyable spring chores

I’ve planted part of my heirloom garden (using heirloom seeds used in an earlier era). Being a novice is a tad challenging, but we all have to start somewhere. This weekend I’ll be buying many varieties of tomato plants and a few peppers and, most definitely some cucumbers.

As a back up, I decided to go ahead and buy a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share, but more on that in a later post.

I’m going to have faith that all will turn out well with my garden. At the very least it’s going to be a heck of a lot of fun. There is nothing quite like playing with seeds and plants and dirt.

I want to absorb it all and take it in! My next-door neighbors, Teresa and Dave,  just purchased chickens. One of my dogs is a bird dog, her name is Anya. I really enjoy their chickens. They just gave me a dozen eggs.  Anya is passionate about visiting those birds. We’re thinking of installing a fence . . .

And let me just say, there is no comparison to eating an egg that comes from a hen who is enjoying her life.  Teresa babies her hens and feeds them a steady diet of kale, cucumber, and corn. She gifted me with close to a dozen eggs from her hens, and it was like winning the lottery. The yolks were a deep golden color. There is no comparing their taste to that of store-bought eggs.

And that is why I’ve made my way to farmer’s markets as often as possible and have decided to go ahead with purchasing a CSA share. In large part, it is why I am growing my own food.  Growing your own food and eating local produce and eggs is an experience not to be missed.

Do you have a great story that relates to growing something or a favorite local food producer? What richness does it add to your life?

 

 

About Heidi Boone

Heidi Boone is a sales professional on the outside and a tree hugger on the inside. She strives for well-being at every level and blogs about her experiences with yoga, eating a largely plant-based diet, and exploring the many ways to make the journey both joyous and life affirming.

 

 

Comments
Updated: 09:51 May 6, 2013

For My Mother

 

Yesterday was the anniversary of my mother’s passing. She’s been gone nine years. I took the day off from work because I wanted to carry her spirit with me throughout the day. 

The pups got walked, and I took in the beauty that’s all around us this time of year. My mother was not a church-goer; she said nature was her cathedral. I wanted to be surrounded by the natural world—that was her world and deepest inspiration.

Yes, time heals. But I miss her. I miss her every day. I miss her realness and how easily she accepted me. It wasn’t the easiest of connections, but she was one of my greatest teachers.

Neither of us was perfect. We loved heatedly and fiercely, but we loved and we forgave. She let me know that it was okay to be human.

That being said, it’s hard at certain moments to forgive myself for some of the less-than-stellar experiences we shared when she was dying. Letting go was hard on both of us.

Many people watched us battle or laugh with total abandon throughout our last days together. I knew she would do anything for me and vice versa. I yelled at her and wasn’t too wonderful a few times when she was dying. I always felt mental anguish and apologized.

She said, “I know you are scared, so am I. My biggest fear is not being able to see your face ever again. Don’t apologize. You are you. Never change how passionate you are.”  Let’s just say she, too, was easy to forgive. It was a tough but magical connection.

Mom’s lessons

When I was little, I had a favorite pine tree in our backyard. I would climb to the top and swing from its branches. I never told her this, but one of the biggest gifts she gave me was the space she allowed for my childhood rituals and somewhat daring nature. Some moms might have been scared to see a six-year-old swinging upside down from 30 feet up. Not Helga. 

That was her name, Helga. Let me paint a clearer picture for you: Helga was tough as nails, a ‘force of nature,’ as a dear friend aptly put it.

She had a deep German accent and smoked a pack a day.  She loved gambling and bad television. She was blunt and gave you her unedited thoughts, and it was truly maddening. She was quirky, and I was mortified by some of her quirks. 

But she also could express joy in a way that made her shine. She would get more excited at the sight of me walking through the door or the gift of soup or strawberry shortcake than a five year old. Her face beamed. What you saw is what you got. Always.

I look back from the summit of four decades plus and realize that she was a breath of fresh air.  At her core, my mother had deep integrity and kindness. I sometimes wonder how much softer she might have been if she hadn’t endured a war in her country when she was a child and not seen things that children should never see. 

I realize that her experiences, including not having food and witnessing deep suffering and great loss as a child, made her look and act formidable to some. But she was just more certain of herself and more firmly planted than most people I know. She stood by those she loved and insisted on telling her truth.

My mother’s dear friend, Tessie, once said to me, ‘Your mother was more there for me than my own family.” Tessie had a hard life, her husband was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease at 39, and he was not supposed to survive.  My mother spent many nights at Tessie’s kitchen table, so that Tessie could visit her husband in the hospital and her children could sleep in their own beds.

“Those who judge your mother don’t know the real Helga,” Tessie said. Tessie is now dying and many childhood memories are making their way to the surface.

They were devoted friends, they showed one another a loyalty and devotion that was remarkable to witness. Helga was as committed to her relationships as the day is long and Tessie, who grew up in the Charlestown projects, would lie down on train tracks for someone she cared about.

They came from different worlds, but not really. I am mourning the passing of an era in my own life. I’ve been speaking with Tessie’s daughter, Liz, who was one of my closest childhood friends and is still one of my favorite people.

Our parents were so alike—they were dear friends. Together Liz and I have laughed at their quirks, commiserated over their shortcomings, and been moved by their strengths.

Coming full circle

There is an epilogue to the pine tree story.  We moved from that neighborhood, and I grew up and life went on. Years later, I drove past the house and realized that my tree was gone. The people who were living there had cut down all of the trees. I started to cry. Shortly thereafter, I spoke with my dad, who said my mother had had the same response. In a choked voice, she had said, “They’ve cut down Heidi’s tree . . .”

The tender and gentler side of my mother was something my father always saw.  I now get her innocence and big heart in ways I couldn’t always when she was alive.

When my mother was dying she said, “Always remember the good times. Think of the good times and go out there and live fully.” That is exactly how she lived. Whenever I talked about feeling guilt or holding on to a tough memory, she would say, “Let it go.”  

I now view Helga as one of my greatest inspirations. Many times when I wonder about what to do, I hear her voice in my head.  She knew what to do because she never abandoned her genuine self.  She made no apologies and had the courage to be happy in the here and now. 

Yesterday, I planted a lilac bush in her honor. It didn’t stop there. I also planted heirloom vegetables and signed up for a CSA.  

And my mantra was deeply intertwined with all my mother wished for me; to pay attention to all that is real and brings you joy—and to move forward in that direction.

My mother's spirit was with me throughout the day and, as oftentimes happens, I found myself wondering/hoping that she knew how many times I think of her every day, how much her spirit lives on in me. I choose to believe she does know. There is an old English proverb: A falling leaf is a whisper to the living.

About Heidi Boone: Heidi Boone is a sales professional on the outside and a tree hugger on the inside. She strives for well-being at every level and blogs about her experiences with yoga, eating a largely plant-based diet, and exploring the many ways to make the journey both joyous and life affirming.

 

Comments
Updated: 06:21 April 13, 2013

Replenish the Well

 

So, I ate my way through New Orleans, as planned, and now I’m on a cleanse.  If they gave out grades for eating every deliciously decadent food under the sun, then I would have been at the head of the class while enjoying myself in NOLA.  

I joke not. We ate dinner at the home of a truly lovely woman, her name is Kay, and she is a dear friend’s dear friend.

Kay is a native and her love of her home is clearly evident. The hospitality she showed me and my friend Dan knew no bounds.

She introduced me to my first beignet at the Morningside Café in City Park. While enjoying the beauty of the moss-covered trees and swans and a café’ au lait, I had to restrain myself from eating at least a half dozen of these deep fried and prettily powdered regional specialties! 

Not to mention her husband Byron’s delicious barbecued shrimp. I could have eaten heaping plates full of shrimp, which By had purchased right off the docks that morning for $4 a pound. They were the size of endives, and I was in heaven. He gave me his recipe, which requires six sticks of butter . . . 

Yes, about that cleanse. I’m getting my digestion back in balance by sticking with greens, other low glycemic vegetables, fruit, and raw nuts. I’m trying to juice a lot and my evening meal will be a large salad with a healthy dressing and a glass or two of vegetable juice. 

The "spring cleansing" for my humble abode got put on hold, temporarily, because of personal obligations. However, I’m happy to report that I am nesting today and plan on continuing with getting rid of that which is no longer needed and, at long last,  applying a bit more “feng shui” to Heidiland.

There is nothing like taking a bit of time to organize and feed the soul. My back and body ached from a week plus without yoga. So, this morning, I was up with the birds and playing with the pups, chatted with a friend, and made it in plenty of time for the 8 am class. Bikram is one of a few hand-picked salvations that I know should always be at the top of the ‘to do’ list.

We must replenish our own wells and spirits. I know so many people who are either very busy and/or have mega doses of stress to add to the mix. I admit that this week at work was a humdinger.  When that happens, I try to follow these guidelines: 

1.     Balance the body. Oftentimes, this is done by taking Bikram yoga (or any yoga) and moving outdoors. I usually take very long walks with the pups.  Sunshine is a must!  In general being good to the body. It could be skin brushing, a bath, a massage or yoga.

2.     Eat well. On most days, I make sure to get adequate protein, water, many many greens, and seeds and nuts.

3.     Clean the home/ declutter. Time to wipe off the dust-covered jackets of my feng shui books!

4.     Do positive affirmations and have a few healthy spiritual practices that allow me to enjoy the silence. Love Louise Hay! Love positive affirmation tapes!

5.     Do something creative near the end of the day—such as cooking, writing or singing. That’s it. Simple. But it does require discipline. Oftentimes, I don’t have the time or get lazy and skip over a few items on this general guideline for well-being. I guess that’s why there is another rule to be added: Lighten up and be good to yourself. 

What's your favorite way of regaining balance and "filling the well"?

 

About Heidi Boone

Heidi Boone is a sales professional on the outside and a tree hugger on the inside. She strives for well-being at every level and blogs about her experiences with yoga, eating a largely plant-based diet, and exploring the many ways to make the journey both joyous and life affirming.

Comments
Updated: 07:28 March 12, 2013

Spring Rituals

I have become fond of cleanses.  Not militantly fond of them, mind you, but I know that a wee bit of discipline for a short duration of time can pay huge dividends.  

In many ways, a cleanse acts like a Roto-rooter for the mind, body, and spirit. And I always become motivated about this sort of thing as the days grow lighter and spring draws nearer.

 In truth, I’m doubly motivated this year. On the first day of spring, March 20, I will be flying to New Orleans for a mini vacation. Let me make it clear, I am not into deprivation. There is no way you are going to be able to keep me away from Bananas Foster, pralines, and beignets—not to mention shrimp po’ boys, gumbo, and etouffee—once I am in the Big Easy!

Let’s just say I think it’s a good idea to crank up my faithful juicer, eat a lot of alkalizing foods, and drink plenty of water in anticipation of eating my way through one of America’s cuisine capitals!

I’m keeping my cleanse simple:  Over 50 percent of the foods are raw vegetables (lots of salads), and I try to have 9 to 11 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. 

Breakfast consists of a berry smoothie (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries) made with whey and almond milk. The largest meal comes at midday. It usually consists of a source of lean protein (I’m partial to salmon) and a large salad.  Dinner is on the lighter side—another salad and vegetable juice.  Raw nuts (in moderation) and fruits are typical snacks.  Most importantly, I make sure I drink 64 ounces of water daily.  

I’m not a certified nutritionist, but this outline is largely based on the recommendations of an Ayurvedic counselor I met with many years ago.  When I follow the advice he gave me, it really gives me energy. We all need to find what works for us!                         

This is also the perfect time of year to do a little pre-spring cleaning and to feng shui the house.  After a Saturday morning spent making multiple phone calls, catching up with relatives and friends, I am ready for action!  Now it’s time to roll up my sleeves and sing along to music, while I go to work, clear out some old stuff that no longer serves its purpose and make way for the new.

My natural cleanser is being poured into a bucket of water or two (or three or four) and everything is being washed. The air outside is refreshing—carrying a hint of spring. I’ve opened a few windows to circulate the air, lavender oil is being burned in an aromatherapy burner, and some favorite tunes are playing in the background.  Seasonal rituals add life to the here and now and also rejuvenate the spirit.

I look at expiration dates on spices, put clothes in bags so that I can give them away, slowly make my way around my home to clean, circulate energy, and bring in good chi.

There is such a feeling of accomplishment when you stand back and admire your efforts after doing a deep cleansing on your home and your body.  Life seems to flow that much more effortlessly in so many ways.

My dogs, Anya and Pookie, are tired from our snowshoe hike. It’s one of my favorite winter activities, and I knew this weekend might be one of the last opportunities to take advantage of being in the woods after a fresh snowfall. 

We had a wonderful walk, and now the dogs are happily snoring away and Baldrick, my cat, has wedged himself between the two of them.  It’s a happy scene. I look at them and know I made the right choice for how to spend this Saturday.  How I adore living within the rhythms of each given season!

Do you have a favorite spring ritual? Feel free to share!

 

About Heidi Boone

Heidi Boone is a sales professional on the outside and a tree hugger on the inside. She strives for well-being at every level and blogs about her experiences with yoga, eating a largely plant-based diet, and exploring the many ways to make the journey both joyous and life affirming. 

 

Comments
Updated: 09:39 February 28, 2013

Being Patient: Easier Said Than Done!


Okay, so maybe a life of balance has always been a challenge for me. Really, isn’t it for most of us?

I love being in motion: Bikram yoga, snowshoeing, biking, and kayaking. What doesn’t come as easily to me is meditation or, for that matter, the more meditative forms of yoga. I had heard Yin yoga was the perfect complement to the more dynamic forms of yoga that I enjoy. It concentrates on the deep connective tissue at the hips, pelvis, and lower spine.

I enthusiastically convinced a friend to take a workshop with me at Prana Power Yoga in Cambridge, MA. I told him it would be easy, uplifting, and relaxing. For the most part, I was right. Except for one small detail . . . you hold the poses for 3 to 5 minutes at a time. This can be uncomfortable and requires a patience that often eludes me. If my animals could talk, they’d probably be sharing a few choice expletives that have come out of my mouth when my computer is slow or not working! (I’m a work in progress—what can I say?)

So halfway through class, while we were doing a sitting version of Eagle Pose (Garudasana) for what seemed like an eternity, I leaned over to my friend, who was gritting his teeth. I chuckled, and said, “‘Let’s do a Yin yoga workshop,’ she said. ‘It will be fun,’ she said.” 

After class, though, I did feel extremely calm and centered. We walked out with one of our fellow workshop attendees and discovered that she was a yoga teacher who regularly taught at the center. She was very enthusiastic about Yin yoga. I asked her what the main benefit was. She looked at me and said, “Patience.” 

A lack of patience and follow-through has been my Achilles’ heel since I can remember.

Wouldn’t you know it, the following morning, I took a Bikram class, and that was just about the best 90 minutes of hot yoga in my life. There was a flow and a joy to the practice. I was unaware of anything but being connected to every asana posture.

This experience with patience has inspired me to do a cleanse. Not just a typical juicing/raw foods sort of cleanse, but also supporting it with a cleanse for the mind through meditation and affirmations. I’ll explore this more in an upcoming post. In the meantime, it would be great to hear from anyone who has done anything similar!

 

About Heidi Boone 
Heidi Boone is a sales professional on the outside and a tree hugger on the inside. She strives for well-being at every level and blogs about her experiences with yoga, eating a largely plant-based diet, and exploring the many ways to make the journey both joyous and life affirming.

Comments
Updated: 08:05 March 1, 2013

Is Bikram Yoga For You?


I welcomed the New Year flat on my back in corpse pose. I was at Bikram Yoga Merrimack Valley in North Andover, Mass., doing Savasana one minute before the ball dropped in Times Square and for the first full minute of 2013.   

A few years ago, if someone told me I’d be practicing yoga in a 105-degree room for 90 minutes, I would have bet the bank against them. But there I was, sweating like a pig and smiling widely. It felt joyous and life affirming to end 2012 and start the New Year this way! 

In Savasana, you lie on your back with your palms facing upward, arms by your side. It is in those still moments that, in layman’s terms, you reap the rewards of your practice, allowing the mind, body, and spirit to integrate the benefits of all of the asanas (postures) practiced during class.  

Bikram’s not a walk in the park. During my very first class, I had thoughts like “you must be joking” and “one more minute of this and I’m bolting for the door.”  

That’s normal for most people, as it takes your body time to acclimate to the heat. Studio owner Teri Almquist led my very first class, and I remember her saying to new students that the only requirement was that they breathe.  She said we didn’t need to do every pose perfectly. Over time and with patience, she promised we’d see change.  One thing I know for sure—it’s amazing how much more patience you develop outside of the classroom!

Bikram Choudhury, the founder of Bikram yoga, refers to the practice as torture, but asks, “What would you prefer, 90 minutes of torture or a lifetime of torture?”

Many times, I’ve walked out of the Bikram torture chamber feeling cleansed, free of the back stiffness that has plagued me, enjoying a clearer mind and a sense of joy that makes me want to return as much as possible.

My mother was European and she sometimes got words in English confused.  She said to me once, “Heidi, you do so much better in life when you practice your yogurt! Why don’t you go back to yogurt class?”

I wish I had taken her advice years ago! But today I do yoga because it makes me happy. In this stress-filled world, I want to encourage as many people as possible to find a practice that feels right to them and makes them shine! 

I took the final two weeks of the year off.  There were many great holiday offers, including the chance to be with family in Michigan and an invite from a friend traveling around the United Kingdom. I would usually be packed and ready to go in a New York minute. But this vacation was different, it was filled with Bikram and other yoga classes. I spent time with the people who are closest to me. For the most part, I listened to music, read, cooked my favorite foods, sang to my beloved pets and brought them for walks and truly enjoyed the company I was keeping . . . my own. 

Thank you for joining me on my journey; I’m excited to learn about yours!

About Heidi Boone
Heidi Boone is a sales professional on the outside and a tree hugger on the inside. She strives for well-being at every level and blogs about her experiences with yoga, eating a largely plant-based diet, and exploring the many ways to make the journey both joyous and life affirming.

Comments

Latest blog posts

Spring Cleaning: A Good Time for the Soul

Green Moms  Being in a family home for the past 9 years has shown me very quickly that spring cleaning is not a one-day operation.Actually, it’s become more like a month-long torture machine, which explains why I procrastinate for as long as possible.To add insult to injury, traditional cleaners... Read more

What's Your Dream?

Destination True North Have you ever had a moment when you realized you had to make a choice between staid status quo and living an adventure, a dream? Perhaps, there was nothing wrong with life in the here and now,  or perhaps you were facing heartache or a challenge that felt like a mountain of worldly... Read more

Juicifying Life!

Taste For Life Blog I have friends who swear by juicing, including one who claims he felt almost euphoric for more than a week due to drinking juice breakfasts. I love being able to buy a nice, freshly wrangled juice, especially at our new community co-op where there’s a juice and smoothie bar.But to make my own... Read more

Don't Let Passion Slip Away!

Destination True North How many times have you said you wanted to do something—you've pined away for going to an event or taking up a passion—and somehow it doesn't happen. It's not that the hands of times slip idly through your fingertips...it's simply that, if you are anything like yours... Read more

Garden Therapy

Destination True North  There is nothing like gardening to restore your faith in the nature of things. And, I want to support the efforts of those who are dedicated to growing things—to buy locally and to be more connected to the source. I've made a vow to myself this summer to visit supermarkets as... Read more

Advertisements