‘Be Here Now!’
When I took my first yoga class many years ago, my teacher was an older gentleman named Raj. He was then about 65 years of age, but his lean, muscular frame and spirit did not show it. In fact, the very first time I came to Raj’s house, his wife answered the door and led me to the backyard…where her husband was hanging upside down from a swing. Raj quickly and gracefully leapt to the ground, shook my hand, and gave me a most splendiferous grin. An incredible sense of peace came over me, and I knew I’d found someone who was going to be quite instrumental in the direction my life would take.
I decided to take private lessons with him, even though it was a time in my life when I could hardly afford it. I wanted desperately to learn everything this man could offer me, so I went into the study of yoga with intensity. My nature is to want to excel at everything I do—and that has been both my cure and my curse. During the first few classes with Raj, all I cared about was whether or not I was executing the poses properly. He’d strike a pose and gently ask me to execute it, while his lovely, soft, melodious voice reminded me to breathe and then stretch, breathe and stretch. I’d try desperately to imitate what he did, holding my breath in my attempt to get it right.
After all, wasn’t everything about getting it right? What if I looked ridiculous or didn’t breathe right or my leotard hiked up? And as Raj noticed this, he came over and commented, “It’s not about the positions, Loretta. Let go and breathe, and it will come. Inhale, exhale. Be here now!”
I remember thinking that he was nuts. how could I ever learn anything by just breathing in and out? Letting go? How does a major control freak let go? I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. To me, the concept meant that I might fall into a big black hole and lose my identity. It sounded very weird. (Keep in mind that this was at least 30 years ago. We weren’t in the place we’re in now, where yoga has become a national pastime.)
Of course, the point of Raj’s lesson was: Stop thinking about all the other stuff that gets in the way. But that’s an incredibly difficult thing to do, especially in the world we live in today. What we have to realize is that until we learn to be more present, life will always be more complicated than it needs to be.
Reprinted from the September 2020 edition of the South Shore Senior News.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Loretta has “Sold Out” venues across the country with her outrageous one woman show: Boston Symphony Hall, The Hanover Theatre, Emerson Majestic, Berkley Performing Arts Center, Providence Performing Arts Theatre , Palace Theatre in Albany NY, Capital Centre for the Arts in Concord NH, Stadium Theatre, TELUS Center in Canada, just to name a few. Loretta has toured with The Power Within sharing the stage with Arianna Huffington, Former President Bill Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres, Tony Robbins and many other great leaders.
She is a well-recognized TV personality on PBS with seven one-woman television specials airing on 80 PBS stations across the country. She has been nominated for local and prime time Emmy Awards, and has appeared on CNN, ABC, NBC and FOX affiliates. Loretta improves the health of your organization by alleviating stress through humor, leaving audiences happy and optimistic. Loretta is an Internationally recognized stress-management consultant who advocates fun, optimism, and resiliency. She uses her wit to help people learn how to take stress and turn it into strength.