Finding my happy

by smartini on July 31, 2013

I think I’m a pretty darn happy person. In fact, I’d like to say that there may be a photo of me when you look up ‘happy-go-lucky’. So, it strikes me as so odd when, from time to time, it has happened that I’ll be walking down the street and a random stranger will tell me to smile. I kind of want to stop them in their tracks and say “Hey, listen – I don’t think you know who you’re talking to here, buddy. I’m one of the happiest people you’ll ever meet – just ask anyone!”. But, let’s be honest, THAT a random stranger might actually feel compelled to tell me in passing to smile surely must be an indicator of something.

So, I shall take heed.

On this beautiful journey of self-discovery, mission and purpose that I am on, I am finally beginning to see that I have perhaps been taking it all a bit too seriously. Although I am about as easy-going and down-for-the-adventure (whatever the adventure of the day might be) as a person could possibly be on the outer, I see now that part of myself on the inside that is shy and scared, my inner child, if you will; I’ll call her ‘lil Sarah’. I also see the part of myself that is stubborn, and demanding that I be absolutely perfect – that would be ‘Drill Sergeant Sarah’. So, no wonder if sometimes, when I’m doing something I totally love and am passionate about, and think I am just having the best time, that I might discover I’m grimacing.

That is what happened this weekend. There I was, in the middle of filming a yoga class for Udaya Productions. I mean, come on folks, what an honor and amazing opportunity to participate in this project!!! As I blogged about when we were filming last fall, I was lucky enough to be a part of the cast of Yoga Warrior 365 with the incomparable Rudy Mettia. That DVD box set is FINALLY about to be released, and I couldn’t be more excited to see it (really it is so unique and cool and going to be such a great medium to bring the benefits of yoga to a whole lotta folks who maybe otherwise wouldn’t have tried it!!). In the meantime, I’ve learned that the production company responsible for that project, Udaya Productions, is also creating an entire library of on-demand yoga classes! Needless to say, I’ve been chomping at the bit to support this project in any way I can. Considering my travel schedule is so intense for my event management work, when I am actually home for a stretch, like I am in these few blessed summer weeks, I certainly want to take every opportunity to film and support the project in every way I can! So, when I was asked to film with Vytas Baskauskas, another renowned yoga teacher here in LA this last weekend, ‘happy-go-lucky, down-for-the-adventure’ Sarah said yes without hesitation.

But when I showed up to the shoot on Sunday and saw three [only three!!!] yoga mats in place, ‘lil Sarah’ started to wonder if I had gotten in over my head. I was expecting a normal-sized class I suppose, where I could discreetly position myself in the background somewhere! And I’ve not practiced with Vytas before! I’d certainly heard of him – but had the impression his classes were for more advanced yogis than me: a practice with lots of arm balances, inversions and the like — all the beautiful poses you see in Yoga Journal that I just know I physically COULD DO but haven’t managed to just yet… And, might I add, these filmed classes are not rehearsed AND shot in one take! When I shot with Rudy, at least I knew what I was in for – I’ve been practicing with him for years – BUT, ‘lil Sarah’ screamed at me, I had no idea what to expect from this class. And by god, it’ll be on film for all the world to see me. …of course ‘Drill Sergeant Sarah’ would have none of this whining so I cowboyed up as best I could, and went to my mat as we began to film.

It was about halfway through the third class (again, another surprise that we were shooting more than one class!!!), that I noticed my energy. Lil Sarah was very busy doing exactly what Drill Sargeant Sarah was commanding; “don’t you dare fall out of that Half Moon! …what’s your problem? your Warrior Three is way better than that, get it together!! …why on earth are you struggling with your breath that way, you sound ridiculous, everyone can hear you, ya know..”

There were no mirrors on set, but suddenly I could feel the scowl on my face.

Although Vytas was instructing in this amazing, calm and attentive way, I had forgotten how to relax and ENJOY this awesome experience. It was actually very cool to be in unchartered yoga territories, to completely surrender to a new practice. Yet I was too busy trying to be perfect that the HAVING FUN part had fallen by the wayside.

Thank you yoga-angels for the gentle nudge in that moment of realization, to come back to present, to come back to my breath, back to the joy that is uncertainly and surrender. Not surprisingly, as I’m having this realization, Vytas precipitously says to the camera that its OK to fall out of a pose. I’m put at ease, breathing again and suddenly stronger than before.

And last night, back in my beloved Rudy’s class, when my arm began to shake uncontrollably in Side Arm Balance and I felt that familiar scowl surface on my face, I remembered how much I actually LOVE this practice. How much I ENJOY this practice, how great it makes me feel and how FUN it is. And then I think, just maybe, I managed to let go just a little and giggled at my jello-arm.

At the close of practice, sitting in Lotus, I find I am not pretending to be at peace. The smile on my face is, in fact, uncontrollable.

I. Just. Am. Happy.

By god, maybe my journey with yoga is not just about perfecting the pose, and my journey of self-realization is not about being perfect already, but just as much about laughing along the way – trying something new and giggling all the while.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda Marshall July 31, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Really great Sarah! We all need to take your words to heart.


smartini July 31, 2013 at 9:13 pm

Thanks Linda!


rudy mettia July 31, 2013 at 10:10 pm

One of my shining lights, much love sister.


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