Graceful Warrior: Keep Breathing and Enjoy the Whirlwind!

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Lately, I am loving Bob Dylan’s song “Oh the Times, They Are Changing,” featured Oliver Stone’s The Doors from 1991. I watched the movie since it had scenes shot in the Venice Canals. Other than the scenery, the movie is a big downer and I don’t recommend it, but the closing credits Bob Dylan song really spoke to me.

My life has recently turned upside down. My husband and I just moved from Los Angeles back to our hometown Fort Worth, Texas. We left our awesome place and neighbors, our amazing friends, my most excellent book club, work that we liked, and all the culture and fun of Los Angeles to take a stab at succeeding at our dreams.

It was a hard decision to make, but both of us felt that we had become somewhat stagnant and needed to shake things up. While the whole process hasn’t been easy, it has been relatively smooth, like it was meant to be.

So here we are, just going with the flow. Trying our hands at new ventures and opening ourselves to new possibilities, both which can be terrifying at times. Whenever the fear starts to grip me, I practice shifting gears in my mind from fretting about the future to just trusting the process, having faith that everything will work out as it should. We all get into the mindset that when we make a change, everything will immediately be perfect, but it’s just not so. All things take work.

Last year, the (brilliant babes) book club I am in read the book, “A Time of My Life” by Allison Winn Scotch. While it was a quick, easy and entertaining read, I was quite unhappy with the ending. It portrayed a girl who seemed to have it all, but felt unfulfilled in her life, then woke up 5 years in the past. She got a re-do with her old boyfriend, a chance to be more successful at work, and see her life in a whole new perspective. What she ended up learning was that she was the one that needed to make change in her life to be happy. That it wasn’t her husband, her small daughter, or giving up her career that had left her unfulfilled; it was that she hadn’t consciously made decisions based on what she wanted.

Once she realized that she had made all her decisions based on what she thought other people would approve of and that she needed to take control of her life, she immediately was snapped back to her “real” life. But her real life looked totally different, and was now perfect for her. What I didn’t like about the book was that she didn’t have to do the work to get the life she wanted, it just magically appeared. Life is just not like that. We have to make hard decisions and take difficult actions sometimes. Even though I was sad to leave LA, and it was so hard to tell my neighbors, my yoga teachers and students and my church family, I still know it was the right thing to do.

Now it’s time to do all the work to make my new life all that I want it to be! Anytime that fear pops back up, I just close my eyes and breath deep, with my rib cage expanding in every direction (imagine that an umbrella is opening) on the inhale, and compressing with my spine growing longer on each exhale.

I also love the scripture Hebrews 11: 1 & 3 — Now faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see. By Faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

About Gina Shelton

We live in a dualistic world, or really a multi-istic one. As a woman, you are expected to be smart, caring, creative, and dedicated at your job, with your significant other and your family, plus you are supposed to make time for yourself in order to stay healthy and sane. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you start thinking of all the aspects of your life that you are constantly juggling.

For me, this is where yoga comes in. In the West, we mostly view yoga as a physical practice and that is definitely how I got into it. But what I’ve realized in my 10+ years of practicing yoga, is that it has become more than just something I do to stay in shape, it has changed the way I view myself and the world and consequently how I interact with others.

Over the years, yoga has helped me meal my crumbling marriage, my low back and hip pain deemed chronic by my insurance company, and is now supporting me through my next ventures: trying to start a business and a family.

My love of yoga (I knew it was for me in my very first class), led me to begin training to teach after a year. I took my time learning all I could and finally became a YOGA ALLIANCE registered teacher in 2005. Since then, I have become a certified yoga therapist through Loyola Marymount University’s Yoga Therapy program and will soon have my Yoga Alliance 500-hour teacher certification.

This blog will cover topics related to yoga poses and breath awareness that will help you to find the graceful warrior hidden inside you: Strength to manage the everyday stresses in your life as you gracefully create new habits and patterns that allow you to find comfort, health and hope in all areas of your life.

Gina Shelton is a Yoga Alliance registered teacher and Loyola Marymount University certified yoga therapist. She lives in Venice, CA with her husband and weimeraner puppy Fleur. You can read more about creating a healthy lifestyle on her blog thrivacious.com

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