Yesterday, my yoga instructor said something to the class that really stood out for me. He was comparing our worries and anxieties to the clouds in the sky. They aren’t always there, but when they come they can clutter the clear blueness (i.e. clarity) of what’s really there. He challenged the class to let go of all those thoughts, anxieties and concerns and simply slow down; pause between thoughts and just concentrate on one thought at a time. In doing this, you will soon find clarity and feel more like yourself, rather than your distorted “cloudy” self.
I took his words of wisdom to heart, and am trying to carry them with me throughout the rest of the week. Although it is difficult to press “pause” on your life and simply slow down and let go, it’s something that comes with great gratification.
Slowing down to me means many things, both literally and figuratively. It means walking down the street a little bit slower, finding beauty in what surrounds you. It means looking at your watch/Blackberry/pager a little less often, and looking at the smiling faces of passerby a little bit more.
Slowing down means forgetting about the laundry/grocery list/calories in a plain bagel with cream cheese. It means forgiving yourself for not running 5 miles as planned, and instead giving yourself ten minutes dedicated to meditation. It means curling up with a good book, unplugging from the internet, and phoning an old friend. It’s remembering the goodness in who you really are, not how you may have acted in an unfortunate situation.
What does slowing down mean to you? What’s some meaningful advice you’ve been given lately?
Thoughts from a Born Again Yogi: Why Practicing Yoga Regularly is an Excellent Workout for Your Mind and Body
In yesterday’s post, I touched briefly on the fact that I want to start getting into yoga again, and that I love the way it makes me feel. Today, I wanted to go into a little more detail as to what exactly I’m talking about what I refer to this “feeling.”
You see, I used to practice yoga quite regularly and then sort of fell off track like we all do at certain times in our life. The road to my born again yogi-ness all started Tuesday morning, when I asked my friend Jen (a yoga lover & relationship expert) over at Blonde Bronzed Twenty-Something if I should take a yoga class or spinning class that evening. “Yoga, 100%” she said. At first, I had trouble banking on a yoga class for my workout, rather than a sweat-inducing, fast-paced spinning class. I was doubtful, highly doubtful.
Then she went on to tell me how amazing and focused I’d feel after the class. “Plus, it’ll be a great workout for your core and strength.” With a little more convincing on her end, I was sold. After all, Jen was right…and I owed it to myself to dedicate 75 minutes to some much needed “me” time.
Jen also told me that I should pick a few points of focus for my class. I chose compassion, faith and strength. The compassion let me know that things are worth fighting for and that love will carry me through, faith let me know “I can do this” and “I can do anything I set my mind to.” Strength reminded me that I’m a young, powerful woman and helped me hold tough poses longer than I ever thought.
After the 75 minutes were over, I felt like a brand new me: refreshed, inspired, and strong. Those 75 minutes were some of the best minutes I’ve spent in a long time. Sure, I wasn’t drenched in sweat nor out of breath, but I had one of the best workouts I’ve had in a long time…and that’s because it was a workout for my mind and body.
After my practice, I sat in bed that night with these final thoughts of the day…
1. I am a young, beautiful, confident woman.
2. I will get to where I want to be in life if I keep having faith.
3. I am in a happy place. I need to let myself enjoy this.
4. Damn…my core is feeling pretty tight right now. That means I worked hard tonight and challenged myself.
5. I need to continue challenging myself each in every day, so that I can grow and become a better person.
6. I can (and should) allow myself 60, 75, or even 90 minutes of yoga because the time pays off
7. Sometimes we need to remember to stop worrying about times and schedules and just be…
8. Life is beautiful. There are so many things to be appreciative of.
9. I am lucky…to have what I have and to do what I do.
10. Yoga is definitely not an “easy way out” exercise for sissies. It was tough, and surely gave my body (and my mind) an excellent workout.
Do you practice yoga regularly? What are some thoughts and beliefs you take away from each class?