Last night I went to a fantastic vinyasa flow yoga class. We were guided to hold our postures for longer, delve deeper into our stretches and focus on more meaningful breathe. This is what we all want out of a good yoga class – an hour where all that matters is that you are there. You are present. Your only focus during that hour is moving yourself through the series of poses, in what ever way serves you best.
However, the moment that made this such a meaningful class for me is the story shared by the instructor before any down-dogging even occurred. The Coles Notes version of this story is that he had found himself caught up in life’s busyness, his actions became complacent and meaningless and he inevitably found himself being rocked back to reality by an unfortunate food-down-the-wrong-tube situation. I am happy to say that he made a full recovery and am grateful that he felt urged to share this tale with a room full of yogis.
I suppose ’tis the season when we find ourselves in situations where we are mindlessly rushing around town to check items off our loves one’s christmas lists, or we switch to auto-pilot as we bounce from store to store trying to find the perfect Christmas sweater, and we deprive ourselves of sleep as we scramble to cross items off of last year’s resolution list or complete end of year work tasks before the office is closed until the New Year. Life gets busy, you find yourself moving through the motions rather than participating in them and before you know it, heaven forbid you find yourself in your own chickpea-down-the-windpipe type of scenario.
The instructors story resonated so deeply with me because it made me realize that as of late, I have been rushing through life on a level of auto-pilot just to get to my next task, next appointment or next meeting. I will admit that this is somewhat self-inflicted – I am the type of person that will fill any down time I have with…things! If I have free time and space in my life, I will take on new tasks, learn new hobbies or create new projects (i.e. May Cause Radiance…). But! It is important to remain present as you move through these motions.
If you are like me, and you don’t do well with “free time”, then fill it, but fill it with purpose. Or, if you can see a reflection of yourself in the aforementioned christmas shopping, sweater choosing and chickpea eating description, then maybe you need to take ten. Or maybe you need to make space to take yourself to your own yoga class, spin class or art class, or perhaps just schedule time to stare out your living room window with a mug full of almond egg nog spiced latte (this is one of my favourite ways to wake up…my version of the morning news 🙂 ).
I know that if I need to be conscious of scheduling down time to reflect, realign and refocus for myself… a person who is currently on medical leave from my “real job” post-chemotherapy, all you people in the “real world” must need this for yourselves, too! It doesn’t have to be much, you will know exactly what your body needs if you take the time to check in and ask it.
It is important to remain present and to carry your days out with purpose to believe you are living with meaning. This way, you don’t have to try to convince yourself that you are on the right path, you will already know that you are.
Actions speak louder than words, even when they are your own. No, ESPECIALLY when they are your own. It is important to teach others how you wish to be treated, but take the time to offer yourself this same curtesy. Imagine the life you want to live, an live it. And, if you imagine mornings with a steaming cup of spiced latte and a beautiful window to look out, well, I can definitely relate to that.