Graceful Warrior: Life, Flea Markets and the Element of Surprise

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I love shopping at flea markets. Luckily for me, there are flea markets almost every weekend around Los Angeles. What I love most, I realized while shopping the John Muir flea market this weekend is the element of surprise. You can’t plan for what you want to shop for at the flea market, so it provides me a place and time to be open and see what catches my attention and resonates with me in that moment…

While I always have a running list for things I’m looking for – a cool bowl to put on the tray on my ottoman in the living room, ceramic tiles for a project in my garden, fun vintage earrings in red or purple – I never know what I’m going to stumble across and fall in love with. Many times I fall in love with things that while worth it, are exorbitantly expensive (like the wooden napkin holder in the shape of a woman in a hoop skirt at the Santa Monica Airport flea market a few months ago) and just not practical for my life now. But even then I’m so excited to have seen such a cool thing. Flea markets are also a green way to shop. Everything there is already in this world, so why not put it to use instead on buying cheap new things from China. I love the history too. Who knew that children’s play kitchens used to be metal and probably quite dangerous to play around, but after seeing some on a tour of Castle Green in Pasadena, I started seeing them (and buying them) at the flea market.

Anyway, why in the world am I droning on about flea markets? Well, on Saturday after my fun morning at the flea market, a few other plans I had for the day did not go the way I expected. Through my yoga practice, I’ve learned when things don’t go as planned to just take a deep breath, stay fluid and go with whatever comes my way – most of the time. Not so much on Saturday. I became a mess: grumpy, mopey and even snappy to my husband a few times. Sunday, after a lovely bike ride to church and excellent sermon, I was able to put things in perspective. What I realized is that I need to approach all areas of my life the way I approach the flea market: having in mind some of the things I hope to come across or accomplish on my journey, but then being open and excited at what I might find that had never even crossed my mind. We all have goals and dreams, and our modern society teaches us to push and work our butts off for the things we want. But does that really make us happy? Yes, many things in life are better planned, but if we get too rigid I think we miss out on smelling the roses and the excitement of what will happen next!

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