Ali Yoga – On My Mat to Paradise
How We Find Inspiration To Grow
by Laura Jones-Miller
Laura Handstand Pose
Somethings are just too good to be true. For me yoga is one of them…”Ali Yoga” is my icing on the cake (the proverbial cake…since the combination of Ali Yoga and Ali’s nutritional guidance has eliminated my desire to eat cake…now, a raw melon or banana is the same kind of of heaven cake used to be!) . I discovered Ali during a incredibly difficult time in my life. My beloved husband contracted MERSA (the horrible bacteria that is resistant to almost all antibiotics) and was on the brink of death for weeks…I was a rock at the hospital but here a home, I was freaking out. I decided that yoga might help me calm down. I pulled up Ali on You Tube to try her first class…The rest, as they say, was history. She, and her lovely calming voice, her distinct style, her obvious yoga teaching experience , and most especially, her fun factor!…the whole Ali package.
Until Ali, I was accustomed to practicing in a studio. After finding Ali my home practice exploded. All I need do now is to roll out my mat, tune into Ali (I love her greeting, “Namaste beautiful yogis”, and often play it several time for the smile factor) and fall into the moment. Her voice draws you down into calm very quickly. I find myself quite ready and willing to begin without hesitation. I run to my mat 6 -7 days a week two days of the week. It’s like being a kid again with Ali’s flying circus moves, cardio intervals, balancing and (AAAHHH!) beautiful stretches and flows, headstands, handstands, twisted birds of paradise, half moons, twisted half moons (Yikes! )wheel drops, etc.,…something for everyone. All I have to do is wake up, get some fluids in me and I skip or dash to my mat. I don’t procrastinate because yoga is the magic part of my day…I look at it as a normal part of my days flow…just like breakfast and a shower (only way more fun). Once you see how fabulous it makes you feel and look ( all toned and smooth with defined muscle all over you won’t consider it a chore…it will quickly become sanctuary and the very best part of your day.
Yoga carries me into a quiet meditative spot. No matter the havoc going on around me…when I come to the mat and breath I am transported to a lovely warm island of my own. And just like kicking off into warrior III on the mat…I love kicking off from the mat into a lovely day filled with a present mind and a peaceful heart. We all know the beauty of that.
I started practicing meditation and yoga when I was sixteen but I didn’t get seriously dedicated to it until about seventeen years ago. I feel like Benjamin Button…like I started out older and keep growing younger and younger. The older I get, the stronger, more flexible and agile I get. It’s crazy. I am cruising up to sixty and have recently, with the help of the most exciting yoga teacher I have ever practiced with ( surprise!…it’s Ali! Ha! like you didn’t know that!!!), have learned to do a Rocket Handstand…I mean what are the odds? I am so excited by the gymnastics that I break out in handstand at least twice a day…simply for the pleasure of being able to do it! I still topple over sometimes… but I am toppling (on a soft surface please) less and less…I love just hanging out upside down and suspended …weightless…in a magic zone…I don’t walk to my mat each day to practice …I RUN! Where else can you quickly go to where there is a beautiful, quiet paradise where you get to do swell circus tricks, romp about like a kid, do things you never thought you would be able to do…not even in your wildest dreams (you definitely can!)… all the while making your body and mind react as if you’d done a swan dive into the fountain of youth.
I know that many of you are still in your teens, twenties, thirties and have no idea what getting older can mean. In seriousness I tell you that at about 35…those of us who have a healthy vegetarian, vegan, or even near vegetarian diet and a regular exercise program (experts believe that yoga with intervals of cardio is up at that top of best choices) start standing out in the crowd. Our non participating friends are becoming over weight and tired…by 45, many are developing health issues such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Now for the serious stuff, in the 50 – 60 year old group, nonparticipating friends are often very over-weight, have developed type 2 diabetes, need knee and/or hip replacements, are having heart attacks and strokes…and, so very sad to say that many are dying…often of cancer. I lost three friends last year. Not one of them were healthy life-style friends. I don’t have very many friends who have healthy life styles. People seem reticent to change their diets…Do they feel like food pleasure is more important than a quality life? I , no vanity intended, actually look younger than my 40 year old son…a lot younger (his life is sedentary, alcohol, high fat processed foods). It is a reality. I want you to look at my body structure in the photos posted. I have no osteoporosis, my skeletal structure has not altered at all. I am vibrant, unwrinkled, smooth muscled , calm and content, healthy, and very, very happy. I can still shimmy a pole, climb a tree, jump from a swing. I can dance all night and get onto the mat the next morning. I am not telling you this on my own behalf…I am telling you this on your behalf. In my age group, the dividing line between healthy and unhealthy become a very real thing. The earlier you start the better…however, the good news is that you benefit greatly from any starting age. The healthy diet becomes “yours” after a very short time. 1. because fresh is yummy and, 2. you are going to LOVE how it makes you feel! Diet plus interval yoga equals marvelous…A marvelous you… A marvelous life of your own making!!!
I think of yoga as the greatest gift I give my Body Temple. I am so grateful that I have a healthy body that honors me…I, with great pleasure and respect, honor it back… Namaste and xoxo love, Laura
In Light of Merton ~ Joe Z.
At the very center of our being is a great spaciousness that is untouched by sin and illusion.
A point of pure truth which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our mind or the brutalities of our will.
It’s like a pure diamond – blazing with the invisible light of heaven. It’s in everybody.
And if we could only see it and integrate it – we would radiate a peace that would make all the darkness and all the cruelty vanish forever.