Tag Archives: yoga

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.

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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?

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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