Winning at Yoga

It is not like me to brag about my yoga practice. I will not start boasting about how great my triangle pose is or the fact that I stuck a headstand in practice.  No, you will never hear me talk about my yoga practice like that, except for today.  Yeah, I won a battle that has been taking place on a nearly daily basis for over 6 years. I have spent a lot of time, money, and energy on this one very important aspect of practicing yoga, and this was the week that my efforts all came to fruition. I won at yoga. It is a sweet feeling victory, one that can never be taken away. I own this trophy now and will celebrate it every time I am on my mat.

My yoga practice, like everyone’s, has evolved over time. We start out in yoga with very little awareness of how to move the body even though the teacher is spelling it out for us over and over.  The neuro-pathways from our brain to our body have become, in a way, automatic. We walk and move through our days without having to think about it. The physical body and mind work very well together like this, freeing us up to think of the important things like where we are going and what we have to do when we get there.  We rarely take the time to be aware of what we are doing in the moment as we are on that journey to said destination.

Our yoga practice encourages mindful moving. This means being fully aware of the body as it moves from one pose to the next.  As our practice grows, we begin to rebuild the neuro-pathways, eventually developing an ability to mindfully multitask.  We can pay attention to our breath, our core muscles, and the body part moving our muscles all simultaneously.  Even better, as we continue to practice, we find a way to make the mind very quiet.  We can shut off the overactive part of the brain that just seems to spin through all of the tasks we feel we need to keep track of.

Amazingly, this quieting of the mind allows us to be more productive in our daily lives. We start to enjoy being in the moment while doing our tasks. Thinking about our breath during the day was never a thought for me before I began my yogic journey. Now I can come to that awareness many times a day. Why is this important, you may ask?  Breathing is much more than just bringing in oxygen and expelling Co2.  A conscious breathing habit will keep the mind out of “fight or flight” syndrome, reducing stress and anxiety, and possibly ending chronic stress-related illnesses.

So by now you are probably wondering what battle I was fighting for over 6 years that I finally achieved victory over, right? Which pose did I conquer? Did I ace my breathing for an entire class? No, no, none of that. This victory is much bigger than all of those.

For all of these years, I have used a yoga mat and a yoga towel on top to soak up large puddles of sweat. Through all of the moving on the mat, a yoga towel can get all bunched up under your feet, creating a very unstable and irritating mess. My victory this week was that I found a simple solution to keep my towel wrinkle-free through even the most vigorous of classes.

IMG_3645

I simply tucked the bottom of the towel under the bottom of the mat and stretched the top of the towel out past the front edge of the mat and tucked it under the front. My practice is now perfected! Sure, I could judge myself and say, “why didn’t I think of this sooner?” but that would be insinuating that the journey wasn’t as important as the solution.  How could I celebrate victory if there was never any conflict?

IMG_3646

 

 

11 Aug 2016

GPS for joy

In early 2010, after many years of spiritual complacency, a shift began to take place in my life.  Looking back, I can pinpoint where it started; and like many other shifts in my life, I did not see it coming.  The moment that seemed to change everything was fairly innocuous on the surface.  My wife had been feeling bad about gaining some post-marriage weight and was unhappy with how she felt.  She proceeded to tell me that we were going to a yoga class that morning.  My response was clear and simple: “Over my dead body,” I said. (more…)

24 Aug 2014

Where are you looking at life from?

I lost my breath when I heard of Robin William’s suicide.  My chest felt heavy and my eyes grew watery.  The tag team of addiction and depression took yet another highly visible, tremendously influential, comedic genius from humanity.  A hefty reminder that all the money, love, adoration, access to best of everything life has to offer, is no answer to getting to know who you really are and what you are all about. (more…)

11 Aug 2014

Upon Second thought

Thoughts are creative.

“Does this mean all of our thoughts? Every single thing we think, every minute, all day long?

No. And it is important to understand this.  Otherwise we’ll wind up making our-selves crazy, trying to monitor every single thought that runs through our mind.

And that is an interesting phrase: “runs through.”  If a thought “runs through” your Mind, it does just that.  It runs through. (more…)

23 Nov 2013

Think, and you will receive

All of our thoughts are creative.  We have countless numbers of thoughts in our head daily, yet we only give special attention to some of them.   Most of us tend to spend our time entertaining the same thoughts day in, day out.  In this way our life and reality never seems to change.  Doors we wish would open remain impenetrable.  Feelings of lack of purpose and fulfillment follow us in all we do.

What were to happen if we simply tried to pay attention to another thought about our self, our life, and our God?  What if we intentionally begin each day conjuring up a positive, expanded, grand perspective of what life is really all about? (more…)

12 Nov 2013

Creation conquers addiction

 In early recovery, the old-timers will tell you, “Take the cotton out of your ears and stick it in your mouth.“   This is not bad advice for the newly sober person, as listening is a lost art for people in general, not solely for the newcomer in sobriety.  But I had ideas and desires, along with enthusiasm, yet not very much patience.

na2 (more…)

10 Nov 2013

Living Prayer

How you live your life is a prayer to God.  That’s right; what you think, say, and do is all a prayer.  And similar to a scene from the Jim Carey movie “Bruce Almighty,” God always answers yes. Many do not believe that God says yes to everything.  Some will say, “God, I want more money,” then look in their wallet or purse and not see more money and say that God did not say yes.  I tell you this, he said, yes, all right, and you still want more money.

bruce-almighty (more…)

20 Oct 2013

My will be done

My life is in a period of transition, and I couldn’t be happier.  Change is inevitable and oftentimes met with resistance.  Spiritual teachers profess that happiness can be maintained through life changes by letting go of our resistance to them.  Suffering is the result of our unwillingness to accept the transformations as they occur.  Mastery is the result of intentionally inviting change into our lives.
(more…)

17 Oct 2013