Tag Archives: yoga

Change

Hola Hart Beat. Can you believe it’s already the end of August? On Friday it will be September and even though Summer doesn’t officially end for a few more weeks I can feel it coming. Living in the Berkshires has given me such a connection to nature, something I never truly felt in New York, and every day the air, the trees, the wind, the bugs remind me that times are changing.

Change—something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. The other week in my favorite yoga class, my teacher talked about the idea that our bodies are biologically trained to accept change but that our social construct doesn’t welcome the idea. We don’t freak out when night comes because we know morning is coming right after but it’s our cultural and construction associated with change that gives us anxiety and regrets when we encounter change.

I’ve thought about that idea since she said it to our sangha. For me, this summer has been the cherry on top of this entire last year of freedom and exploration. I’ve never been happier or more fulfilled and it makes me anxious, this change in season. Can this happiness and life continue as the leaves fall, the temperature cools, and the fresh tomatoes in my backyard garden stop producing?

The book I’m writing, the god-damned book, is all about change. It’s about returning to your personhood you might have lost along the way of life. But I’ve been thinking lately, do you really return? Or do you incorporate your old self into your new self while not berating your past person for the time you might have lost or the self you might have pushed away?

People move, relationships progress, friendships ebb and flow, summer ends, fall begins, jobs grow stale, ideas bloom, and so much more—sometimes even all at once. I’ve been trying to embrace the changes and remind myself that it is all okay, that it’s all good even. It’s nature and natural for these things to happen. If we didn’t change what would we even be? Not alive surely and not learning or growing. How boring would that be?

This morning I read through the poem of the day emails I get from The Paris Review and was struck by this one here. It reminds me so much of what I’ve been wrestling with.

Cold
by Gerard Malanga

The young girl is unable to change 
The form of her habitual thinking,
The posture with which she corresponds to 
A feeling of sadness, the flow of her 
Thoughts in which she is looking,
The facial expression, and so on; 
She forgets herself to remember her pain 
In the neck, to remember her problems. 
I’ve said this before, remembering myself in the same 
Situation until she came 
Into my life for the first time 
Remembering herself walking out in the open field 
Of vision with eyes full of tears and smoke 
Slowly coming out of her mouth.

I hope this gives you some comfort, even in just knowing that there’s someone out there who is also thinking about all of this.

Shanti Shanti Frustration: On Yoga & Gratitude

Hannah Hart Beat

I lost my yoga mat last week. My mom and I had just arrived at Grand Central Station after riding Metro North from Southeast station. It was raining and snowing at the same time and we stood on 42nd street without umbrellas for ten minutes trying desperately to hail a taxi. When we finally ducked into a free cab we were soaking wet and I remembered all the reasons I hated living in New York. When we arrived at the hotel where we would be spending the night before our five am flight the next morning I cursed the city again when our cab driver didn’t get out of the car to help me wrestle our suitcases from the trunk of his cab.

In my frenzy to get to shelter I left my mat there, laying in the trunk of the rusted, piss smelling cab and it wasn’t until the next morning that I realized my mistake. I cursed the city(again), the cab driver, the rain, my forgetfulness, and the universe in general. I’ve had that mat for five years. When I moved to Brooklyn I borrowed my mothers mat and when I started going to a few Yoga to the People classes in Williamsburg I left the mat there so I didn’t have to cart it back and forth on my bike (#classicbrooklyn). I’m almost one hundred percent sure that my mother’s mat that I originally left there was eventually switched out for another mat. They were both purple okay, Hart Beat! I just grabbed the closest purple mat! Regardless I’ve had that purple mat for a while and I loved it. I don’t even know what brand it was but I do know that it was extra long and squishy and forgiving on my inflexible muscles and bones.

Flash to 2018 the mat has followed me in a semi yoga revolution. over the summer I started a daily yoga practice. Four-year-ago Hannah is cringing at that sentence but it’s true. In true me form something that I swore countless times I hated viscerally has become one of the best things to come out of leaving the city last year. Since I moved back home to the Berkshires to commit to writing this G.D. book I’ve found that this area is a mecca for yoga. The Kripalu Center is less than three miles from where I live and some of the best yoga instructors in the world are only five minutes away. I’m addicted. I go to yoga every day and when I miss a class I feel genuinely sad, like part of me is missing.

Enter my frustration at losing that purple mat. The next morning while waiting in the Delta check-in line I took the only shot I had and sent the NYC TLC an email claiming a lost item, pleading them to send it back to me if they found it. They didn’t find it. Undeterred I practiced yoga the entire week on vacation on a pile of towels and extra hotel blankets. It wasn’t horrible but it’s not something I’d recommend when you’re trying to perch in crow.

When I got back to the Berkshires this week I walked myself into the Kripalu store and bought a new mat—a different mat. It’s green, thin and, flexible, kind of like me now and I realize now that it’s a good thing I lost my mat. I love my new mat. And so instead of cursing that taxi driver and New York and the universe, I’m grateful. When I step onto the vaguely plastic smelling mat I smile and breath deeper into my down dog.

———

This is the first post in what I hope is a series on yoga and my feelings toward it. The G.D. book’s first draft is done so instead of writing new words every day I’m editing words already written. Half of the words in the manuscript are wrong but I try to remind myself that that means half are right. Talk to you soon Hart Beat, and until then, Shanti Shanti Namaste. (Excuse me while I go chill in extended child’s pose and think about how four-year-ago-Hannah just threw up a little in her mouth.)

Top picture is of my new green Jade Yoga mat. I can’t recommend them enough, Hart Beat.