My biceps and shoulders have been incredibly sore from all the Chaturanga Vinyasa Flows in my life. My abs were sore for a while, too, from all the planks, but I think my abs were the first part of my body to get used to the practice. On the other hand, my shoulders are still pretty tender. Especially since I stepped up my practice and went to a tougher class this week. Result? By the time the weekend rolled around, I decided I needed to take a couple of days off. I relaxed in a hot tub on Saturday and I did a little stretching last night.
A little quality of life bonus: I was able to play on the jungle gym with my 7-year-old nephew and 5-year-old cousin this weekend. I hung upside down and used my abs to pull myself up. Just like the kiddos. That was very exciting and something I haven’t been able to do for a few years. I consider that a big win. Oh, and I lost four pounds.
Being present is still really difficult for me. My mind seems to always be buzzing with chatter, but I’ve learned to be more accepting of my thoughts. In the middle of a class, I sometimes find myself thinking about what I’m going to do later in the day or what’s happened to me earlier in the week. That happens a lot when I’ve had an especially difficult week or when the people I care about are going through hard times. It can be really frustrating… Especially when I’m in a class that requires me to remember a series of poses and do the sequence on my own. Ha. I try to accept that I’m distracted, notice it, laugh about it, put it away, whatever… and then peek at the person next to me so I can figure out what to do next in the sequence.
I want to write a much longer post about why I do yoga, but I think I’ll wait until the end of this challenge.
Hooray! I made it into the studio today for a morning yoga class. I had every intention of being present, but there were little tiny ants crawling around the heat vent behind me and I kept getting distracted… Boo. Blaming the ants. I also kept thinking about other things - planning the future, reliving the past, blah blah, woof woof. I need to get that under control. Yikes.
Ah well. It’s a process. At least it was a good work out.
And here’s a picture of Utah, my favorite place to be present.
““Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.” - Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926); Excerpt From Letters To A Young Poet”—values.com
Everyone talks about how important balance is in your life, but it’s rare that I hear a person speak openly about the need for boundaries - emotional or otherwise. Balance and boundaries have always been a challenge for me and I am so proud to say that today I was successful in both. I etched out a safe space among all the energy I encountered today and recognized that space as my own. I didn’t let other people’s troubles seep into my space. Nor did I hide, or wall myself off from people. I saw what was happening, I noticed the other feelings involved and I recognized how it all made me feel. Then I made decisions with a clear mind. That may seem pretty simple, but I am so proud of that. (It’s so easy to get wrapped up in other people’s feelings..)
I was able to make time for yoga at home today and practiced for about 25 minutes. I found a lovely station on Spotify called Post Yoga Glow and just did what felt natural. I didn’t judge myself. I didn’t have expectations. I just did what seemed right. What a tremendously different experience to my 10 minute yoga practice on Friday…
For all that’s going on in my life, I was able to get myself into the yoga studio today. I am so, so glad that I went. It was like one big sigh, one giant breath. One hour long pause. That I needed desperately.
(Unfortunately, I did not go yesterday - day 6)
Also, this is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.
Recently I started a 21-Day Yoga Challenge and the past five days of this challenge have been a lot tougher than I thought they would be. It’s not the physical demands that are the challenge for me. It is being present and silencing all the noise in my brain that is truly a difficult task. Before I started yoga and mindfulness practices, I didn’t even know what mind clutter was. Now I’m highly aware that I have quite a bit of it. I hope that by doing this yoga challenge, I will gain some awesome tools to help ease my anxieties about the past and/or future, slow down my thoughts and allow myself to enjoy the present.
Here’s how it’s gone so far:
Yoga Challenge Day 5. Intention: ?? Exercise is supposed to help your mood. Went to the gym, did yoga at home (again)… So when does this mood enhancement happen?
Yoga Challenge. Day 4. Intention: Forgiveness … Part 2. Had to practice at home again. Any advice for home yoga practice? I’m not good at remembering what I need to do next, which is why I like guided yoga. I tried using Amazon Prime to find a good yoga video, but every video instructor seemed to treat yoga like it was either cardio or meditation. Maybe I should just write out a flow and memorize it..
Yoga Challenge. Day 3. Intention: Forgiveness. Couldn’t get into the studio today, so I’m practicing at home.
Yoga Challenge. Day 2. Intention: Acceptance of self. Letting go of self criticism and body shame.