GRACEFUL WARRIOR: Spring is in the Air

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This was my first winter/spring in eight years not spent in Los Angeles, or the land of eternal spring as I like to call it. What I had forgotten is how bleak and dreary winter can be. In Texas, we did have an especially rough winter, with five or six ice days which the city was not prepared for. For all of January and February everything is brown – no leaves on trees, brown grass and even the sky was gray most of the winter.

As spring has started to emerge, even in the form of little weeds/wildflowers I have become giddy inside. Life is returning to the earth and I can feel it in every bone in my body. In the land of eternal spring, I had forgotten how much I LOVE spring. Don’t get me wrong, I and many people in LA appreciate the beautiful surroundings, but there is just something about going through a real winter that makes you appreciate spring so much more.

I guess it’s the whole cycle of life. We don’t appreciate the highs unless we have experienced some lows. Everything in life is full of peaks and valleys. What I wonder is, when we don’t allow ourselves to experience lows fully, like when a relationship fails and you move on to the next guy or girl immediately, do you truly feel the full affects of the next good time or high in life?

I am a feel-it kind of girl. If I’m sad, I allow myself to be sad; if I’m mad I also feel that emotion and try to not suppress it (suppressing anger definitely caused me some serious lows in the past). Luckily, I’m a pretty happy person most of the time and have learned how to see the positive side of even the most bleak situations, in the least that “this too shall pass.”

Just as the blooming trees and flowers come and go in spring so do our feelings of “high” or happiness or love wane as time passes. In Ben Shahar’s book Happier, he describes four happiness modes: the rat-racer, always thinking they’ll be happy if they just accomplish (you name it); the hedonist, thinking happiness is only in the moment so do what feels good now; the nihlist, no matter what they do, they won’t ever be happy; and finally ideal happiness – being happy with wherever you are and whatever you are going through. This may be tough sometimes, especially during the bleak winter but I think we can always find gratitude for something or someone in our lives. And I think that is a good place to start on the road to happiness.

I guess spring (for all those not in So. Cal or some tropical location) is our visual and olfactory reminder that things do get better, we grow, we change. So no matter how bleak your surroundings look at anytime, just remember that spring with all it’s newness, abundance and beauty is on it’s way.

Instead of sharing a yoga posture, breathing or meditation technique, I definitely recommend getting outside – take your yoga or meditation practice for a walk.  Take your time thought, stop and smell or admire flowers in bloom. Give thanks and find joy for all the beauty God is surrounding you with.

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