It’s May! Celebration time for me – it’s my birthday. My angel card this year is Delight. I’m turning 50 and made a commitment to living that Word my 2nd half a century. Careful what we ask for. Delight is a rarely used word that comes from the heart not the head. And, boy is my heart exploding!

Nothing can top the joy that I feel and get from all of you members. BYSJ is simply THE Best. To reflect on you and what we’ve become together, well, requires a heart that I don’t possess. It’s just that big!

I usually celebrate the month of May, but hey, you are 50 once so I decided to celebrate all year. I’ve done some great things of great Delight already. Thanks so much Fiona for picking me to come with you to an all-expenses paid trip to see Dancing with the Stars! Many of you know that I ballroom dance (hobby only) so to get backstage passes, upfront seats and liberty to use our iPhones for photos was well – heart exploding. With another push from Fiona, I am certain that I would have been on stage dancing with Tony Devellani. Not only did Fiona and I giggle a lot but we cried too – the show could not have been better. The theme was for the celebrities to honor and dance to the most memorable moments in their lives. I found it ironic as it was so heartfelt in a town that can be so pretentious.

Many of you know that I am not a traveler. So to go from Los Angeles back home to wrap up and pack up to Tulum, Mexico was unusual and exciting. I was travelling with a BFF and she’s been there over 30 times, so I did not bother to google or look into any of the plans awaiting us and boy did this approach make it more of a vacation. Being a naïve traveler, I had no idea we were heading way east to the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula in the Caribbean waters – so blue! And heading from the airport to Tulum is another 90 minutes of driving through, well, jungle! At one point my friend explains that we are now driving down the road of which we are staying and I’m saying, “What road?” We were running into huge Palm leaves, barely missing natives walking the wrong way, powerful winds blowing, and then we just stop. Our house is nestled IN tropical plants that are larger than the house itself and on the other side is white soft sand framing the most incredible blue waters that go on forever – magical. I wasn’t in Kansas anymore!

But what wasn’t on vacation was my logical mind. Gosh, it just goes straight to what it knows: time to get up for class; clothes to pack; return emails; check the list for tasks to do – oh dear. Pull me out of Kansas and place me in the Jungle and really see the treadmill addiction. Of course, I am not the only one. I am certain you have this dis-ease too. It’s when we get out of the way, that we can see the carelessness of what’s been put in our minds.

I wasn’t beating myself up at all as, my gosh, I am grateful to have been detached enough to see IT at all. So my mind and I made an agreement to keep the habits (treadmill stays on) but fill the content with all things Tulum: feel the ocean breezes, inquire about those curious sounds, get to know interesting people, open to the creativity and insights flowing through; take in new kinds of yoga; listen to concerns and thoughts of natives and new friends; experience new foods; get to know my BFF on new levels. It takes a while but if you let it, soon, all routines become a preference and not a necessity. Because it’s a choice, whatever I did was enjoyed from the heart even connecting on the internet.

Yoga is another way to stop life’s script. In my early days with Bikram, he would state how important Half Moon Series is in the beginning of class. “Time to kill yourself,” as I recall. I don’t know when or what context this came under, but Half Moon is YOUR time to “kill” your mind. It, of course, carries so many benefits to kick off the 26 and 2 poses BUT one big point that we miss is the opportunity it offers (both sets) to engage whole-heartedly in order to disengage whole-heartedly for the balance of class. Try it.

Secret be told, but I love a hot shower and then when just when I’m about ready to rinse off, I completely turn the dial to cold (no in between) and allow my body to soak up the “shock” from a hot stream to the cold stream head to toe. You now think I’m completely off my rocker at age 50, but the truth is, it’s the most incredible feeling to immerse TOTALLY in that state of saturation. I’ve been doing it for years and look forward to it. I had heard that it was good for your immune system, your skin, your hair etc…and at first it wasn’t all that comfortable but now knowing how I feel after, I can’t imagine ending my shower without it. This might be a crazy analogy but do the same in your half-moon series. Apply the intensity in both sets, immerse in the totality of using your spine in these four directions and get your limited mind out of your class and infinite mind IN the class.

However, another perspective showed up for me too: I recently went to Westgate Church to hear my favorite Pastor, Steve. I just love this guy and the messages he has to say each week – they blow me away. One week he focused in on recharging our batteries and the care we take to ensure our adapters are close at hand (all variations) to keep our important mobile devices charged. Sadly, our response to how we recharge or recalibrate the batteries to our souls gets little to no attention. Yikes. Before long our hope in life becomes how we cope with life. Is my yoga practice falling in that category? How well am I taking care of my soul? Is my yoga becoming a way that I cope? I wondered.

Vacation mode affords us the chance to breathe new life in current situations, see with fresh perspective, catch repeated worn out patterns, invite new possibilities and insights without the weight of daily anxiety and worry. Tulum was important for me to see that even my yoga practice can fall under a “coping pattern.” With anything that we do day after day, it’s our human nature to dilute some of the specialness it once offered. And that’s okay if we catch it.

I recently practiced next to Chris, BYSJ Manager, (who is now taking the yoga) in the back row near the yoga door. If you practice with me, you know that I like it hot and usually front or 2nd row. It was a big change and I made my priority about Chris so my practice did not have the same intention of going all out. The end result was amazing. First of all, Chris did not want me to baby him at all so any attention on him was energetically thrown off. 🙂 But, I did stay with the commitment to go slow, less intensity, enjoy my breath, relax and be in a state of receptivity. I wasn’t in Tulum, but I was on vacation!

Most people that come back from vacation look and feel like they just came back from vacation. They carry a lightness in spirit that you can see even in their eyes. Maybe you can’t go on vacation in the real sense but what if you took a trip to the right side of the room, or the back row, or tried a different time of day, or stepped in the posture with breath first, or used less strength and lower intensity – you choose where you want to go and see if maybe one of those types of classes once or twice a year (that’s it) can create an attribute for you much like it did for me that is reminiscent of being on vacation!

It’s May and this month is reserved for love. May means Moms and for me May means birth. Now 50, as an adult I get to choose how I want to birth the next 50 years of my life. I know for one it will occupy enormous delight. I’m fortunate in that I won’t have a midlife crisis as I love too much what I do, where I live and the people I am with. We are good there folks! My study then is to soulfully interpret the values of my heart – I’ll start with more vacations both in the yoga room and out of the yoga room.