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Since 2009, when I started this blog, my mom was still in the beginning stages of her terminal illnesses.

It was such an intense three years, that I completely forgot that I started this blog. Until today.

I even had it listed on all my email messages. Somehow it seems like another lifetime ago.

Here I am, though, with my back on the wall. It is not a bad thing. Walls offer structure, boundaries, and support.

Walls provide a necessary break from the barrage of internet and human interactions.
And hell, if you didn’t have your firewall up now, McAfee or Norton or Windows would surely flashing you a  warning window or two or three.

I wrote my book, Yoga at Your Wall, in 2009 in Tulum, MX while suffering from an undiagnosed hypo-thyroid condition called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I was one in the 50% of cases that get vertigo as a symptom.

So appropriate for someone writing a book called Yoga at Your Wall, no? With vertigo and dizziness that would come and go for months, even years now, the wall was the best place for me to practice.

It was not a fun time. I hit my head on the inside of the refrigerator a lot. I felt like I was walking sideways.

I made it through and can now practice without the wall. The wall was my friend. Walls are my friends.

Stephanie Pappas, Author Yoga At Your Wall

Yoga at Your Wall, Tulum, Mexico

 

I just released my first yoga book in Spanish! It is a translation of my Yoga Posture Adjustments and Assisting book. Here is the back cover information in Spanish. For the holidays, it is a great gift for Spanish speaking yoga teachers, trainees, or serious yoga students. There are not many books about yoga in Spanish for teachers, so I am delighted to have published one of them!

La primera guía extensa y comprensible para instructores y estudiantes de yoga en español, que incluye todos los detalles sobre cómo ajustar y asistir a alguien mientras realiza una postura de yoga. Con la reciente popularidad que el yoga ha adquirido, este libro es particularmente invaluable para millones de personas que enseñan o practican esta disciplina, pues las claras instrucciones y la generosa cantidad de fotos facilitan a los instructores el aprendizaje y la comprensión para asistir a sus estudiantes.

Los estudiantes también pueden utilizar esta guía para profundizar en su práctica personal y aplicar los principios en parejas. Aquí se demuestran y explican las técnicas de ajuste y asistencia para más de 65 posturas, ilustradas con alrededor de 200 fotos.

Usted puede aprender:

* Como ajustar y asistir a alguien mientras realiza una postura de yoga
* Como ejecutar ajustes utilizando mecánicas corporales efectivas
* Multiples variantes de como ajustar en una postura
* Frases que pueden ayudar a sus estudiantes o parejas/compañeros de yoga
* Maneras de acomodar diferentes tipos de cuerpos
* Como ayudar a sus estudiantes a profundizar en las posturas de manera segura

La comunidad internacional de yoga se beneficiará enormemente con este libro.

“Pienso que tu libro es fabuloso. Tengo muchos libros de yoga, todos reconocidos internacionalmente por algunos de los Yogis más famosos en el mundo. Aún así llevo largo tiempo buscando “este” libro, con simples, aplicables y manejables técnicas para asistir a mis estudiantes mientras realizan posturas. Encuentro tu libro naturalmente amigable sin ser intimidante ni pretencioso. Es una gran herramienta para instructores y estudiantes en entrenamiento. Me gusta mucho el hecho de que tus modelos sean gente “real”; todos con diferentes tipos de cuerpo y niveles variados en su práctica. Me gustaría utilizar tu libro en mi propio programa de entrenamiento”. – Violeta Pastor Wilson, Entrenadora de Instructores de Yoga, Fundadora de la Alianza Canadiense de Yoga.

hurricaneZamasOPT,JPG

I just got here to Tulum, Mexico a week ago and for the most part it has been raining since I landed.

This morning I visited the Tulum ruins with some friends during a brief hour that the sun came out. These Mayan ruins have been there for hundreds of years perched right on the edges of the cliffs over the Caribbean ocean. No hurricane has destroyed them yet. The Mayan people must have sensed this was a safe spot. The thought is possibly giving me a false sense of safety.

Tropical storm IDA may turn into a hurricane tonight. The hurricane center has now posted a watch from Tulum northward. Ahhhhh, El Caribe! So much water! My feet are getting shriveled and all my towels are wet and soggy. What to do now? I have a few leaks in my roof that will certainly get bigger tomorrow. More wet towels.

I have been through 3 hurricanes here now. They are so unpredictable, but this one seems mild compared to Emily, Wilma and Dean. There is this feeling of suspension every time. You really can’t continue doing what you normally do, but yet there are so many hours before you actually know if you should prepare. You have to do SOMETHING.

So, I just put a few things away out in the garden, but then thought I better take a shower because water and electric could go out.

Now I ‘m writing this short little blog so I can keep visiting the National Hurricane Center web site. In hurricanes past I experience this temporary sense of purpose. The immediacy of it kicks in your survival instincts.

Oops, otta go. It’s almost 7pm. Time for the next NHCC public advisory.

FredMomDogsShe laughed. I can’t believe she actually laughed.

Getting my mom to laugh before her various illnesses and progressing state of vascular dementia was challenging. How odd. Now, she laughs more.

What a gift. Even if it is only once and a while, it is a gift.

Just for a moment her dark house with curtains on every window, lit up.

The other day I was helping her change her socks and shoes, or maybe I was putting on her comfy white slippers?? I don’t remember. Because of her congestive heart failure, sometimes her feet swell up. I looked at her feet and said to her in a straight voice, “your toes look like little cocktail party sausages!’

Well, she howled. Tears, snot, and drool streamed from her face. I was delighted.

This is something that I probably never would have said to her in the past. Maybe because the tone in her house was always so serious and a bit depressing. Or maybe because I never helped her put her shoes on before.

To me it seems that the little bit of dementia that has set in has created a sort of “giddy forgetfulness” in her — as if she has always just had one glass of wine. It appears that she is happier now that she can’t think, or should I say over-think, so much.

I bet we all could use a bit this type of forgetfulness. It seems her illness has brought her more into the present moment.

Who would have thunk it? Dementia = yoga.

saturnSL11996

For the last 6 years I have only riden around town on my bicycle in this medium-sized, Caribbean Mexican town, but over these past 3 weeks I have had a rental car. I experienced the town in a whole new way, and my new perspective brought about a revelation about my recovery process relative to my last relationship—the one that took me over 6 months to get over.

A few years ago, in the midst of the chaos of our somewhat codependent, dramatic relationship I had the thought, ” some day I’m going to drive by his place and it will be like driving by any other house on this block.” It was one of those surreal moments when I zoomed out of the confusion of the current situation into a more balanced future.

And my intuition was right! It is amazing how real and intense something can be one day, and then another day be completely different.

Well, it’s not totally accurate to say that driving by his house was exactly the same as any other house because we are still friends now, but there certainly were no charged emotions: no longing, no heart-ache, no fear, no suspicion, and no excitement when I drove by. I realized, “well, what da ya know, I am really finally over him!”

If people tell you that they think you are still not over your ex, or if you have any lingering doubt yourself about your feelings for him or her, do a drive by.

I don’t suggest doing the drive by if you already have his stuff loaded into your back seat, and you’re ready to chuck it onto his front lawn or driveway (yes, I did this during the first month after the break up).

Notice your thoughts and feelings before, during and after the drive by. Passing by their house can give you some clues about any unresolved tensions, passions, obsessions, or resentments that may be lurking in your unconscious mind.

You may be pleasantly, or unpleasantly surprised by your experience.

stefportait2Maybe you’re thinking, what the does that title mean. Where is she going with this one? Some of you may already know exactly where it’s going.

Well, it is a long, long standing tradition that my mother must comment on my hair, for some reason, every time I see her. Even yesterday, after 3 weeks in her hospital bed, in and out of states of delirium and dementia. I hoped that maybe this time the goodnight-goodbye “I love you” could just have ended at that…sweet and silent. But noooooo. It STILL had to be followed by a comment about my hair.

By the way, I happen to LIKE my hair. Well, sometimes.

A month ago at my only uncle’s funeral service she just couldn’t help but toss a comment. There I was, feeling a little prettier than usual, and dressed up for the occasion. Hell, even my long lost cousins said I looked great (at 48 this feels like a nice compliment). Mom turned to look at me. I thought she was going to blurt out something special, deep, or touching. After all, we were at a funeral. She just uttered, “You need to condition your hair.”

I know intellectually that it’s coming from her love for me, but it never FEELS that way when it happens. I feel like a Barbie doll.

Yes, I admit it. The button is still there to be pushed. There is yet more work to do on my part.

This last time in the hospital I asked more though. I am actually becoming more intrigued by the phenomenon. It may seem like a small thing to you, but it was good for me to become inquisitive, and not just react. “Why are you still so obsessed about my hair?” I asked her. “I remember how it used to be.” She replied. “But I am almost 50 years old now!” my voice a little too loud for a rehab nursing home. I left the hospital, still mystified by her constant focus on my hair.

So, I wonder what today’s humid, NJ weather will do for my hair. I’m going to the hospital to see her. Let’s see what she has to say!

If you have had similar experiences, please feel free to post a comment. It is so fascinating, isn’t it?

natarajclassicOPTAmidst the family hardships of late (mom is still in the hospital), a good thing happened today: My newest book, Yoga at Your Wall, by Stephanie Pappas (Codependent Yogi) is in stock and available at Barnes and Noble in Bridgewater, NJ at the Somerville circle! Support your local struggling yogini and pick up a copy! 🙂 Barnes and Noble Somerset Shopping Center 319 Route 202/206 Bridgewater, NJ 08807 908-526-7425
If you are not in NJ or near this store you can request a copy through your own local Barnes and Noble store.
With Gratitude and Love,
Stephanie