Yoga is about attention. PeriodMerideth, Blue Moon Yoga
As a yoga novice, I thought my practice was about exercise; getting my sweat on with the added benefit of meditation. I had it all wrong.
One Tuesday morning I found myself the only person in a yoga class. While some people would have instantly cheered yeah free lesson, I did not. You see I was the person in the back of the class, faking it. Doing my best wrapping my body parts in forms that were not natural (pigeon pose…really?) while trying to look all Zen.
So here I was exposed with no one to hide behind.
And here is where my lesson in alternative healing began, with two valuable life lessons…
Life begins and ends with the breath.
The sacred stories of creation tell us how God breathed life into the first human; “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7).
I as first introduced to the values of focusing on breath by my therapist. This calming breath became my greatest tool in my arsenal against anxiety. By taking full breathes in and out of my lungs, I could settle and be.
That morning I was taught the basics of Ujjayi breathing, taking in this breath of life not only into my lungs but into my very being. This healing practice of opening my heart center spoke to my soul. Learning to turn my breath into wave sounds, I felt transported to a place of peace and calm. A place I had been striving to find my whole life.
I had been looking out there for contentment and peace, instead of looking within – where it was all along.
The next lesson in Yoga I received was even more profound. Like other exercise programs I was involved in, I thought the practice would become easier. As I improved my body would become more flexible; easily settling into poses without the discomfort. Wrong again.
The goal of life is not to make it easier, but to breathe through the hard times.
As my instructor was helping me with the pigeon pose, I shared my beliefs about my improved future flexibility. I was told I had a “strong” body, and there were poses that would never be natural comfortable. I wouldn’t grow long graceful limbs that would melt into the floor like a graceful ballerina. I had to let go of my ego and stop comparing myself to the others in the class. Here is my confession: I walk into a yoga class, scanning the room for the eldest and/or largest person and place myself next to them. I figured I would look better that way.
Wrong again. I learned that there will be good yoga days and not so good yoga days; days were my feet would be flat on the floor in downward dog and other days where my tree pose looked like I was a willow in a wind storm. The goal is to breathe through it – breathe into it, knowing this too shall pass, with Savasana right around the corner.