Lessons from a Yoga Class + Happy Weekend
(photo from our Cutchogue vacation earlier this summer)
Lately on “Cookie Wednesdays” when my mom comes to help me with the girls, I’ve been sneaking away to yoga and it feels so good to be back in the saddle with a consistent exercise regimen. (And for me at this stage of life, “consistent”means I am thrilled if I can get to a class once a week. Hopefully this will change one day but for now I’m good with once a week combined with lots of stroller walking/wagon pulling/child wrangling.) I got so much wisdom out of this week’s class and hopefully I can relay some of it without botching it!
The teacher was talking about the upcoming change in season, and she wove the theme of transitions throughout the class. I don’t know about you, but I’m not usually too great at change. Transitions are hard. How often do we try to get as quickly as possible from Point A to Point B, especially if things are particularly fast-paced or difficult? Yesterday the instructor kept urging us to bring ease to the transitions by taking them extra slowly. I found that if I was actually paying attention to the movements between the poses, I flowed much more gracefully, almost like I was dancing, and even the most challenging parts of the flow became enjoyable.
A quote she shared during class that resonated with me was, “When you stop chasing things, things start chasing you.” I’ve been thinking a lot about this, because although it intuitively makes sense to me, it logically doesn’t. I’m all about the American Dream and I believe that much of “luck” is the result of good habits and diligent hard work. But as a Type A person, I’ve also found myself at numerous points in life where I felt like I was rushing something, chasing something that was out of reach, or asking God over and over again for something that kept getting answered with “no” or “not right now.”
During all of these times of unhappiness or discontent, I found that as soon as I accepted my circumstances and shifted my focus to obedience and gratitude, I became almost instantly content, and the answers I was looking for eventually followed in their own time. I don’t know if the “When you stop chasing things, things start chasing you” advice applies to everyone, but if you’re a person who puts immense pressure on yourself, maybe you need to hear this and try it some time.
The instructor also talked a lot about breathing into areas of difficulty and pausing when you’re at your edge, seeing that you CAN be present with difficulty rather than shying away from it. And at one point she even suggested that we back off a bit before going deeper into a pose. Almost like pausing, coming up for air, and then moving forward. I thought this was so smart and something that isn’t always intuitive. So much of my internal dialogue always seems to go something like “push push push, move forward, do everything right now, race to the finish.” But I find immense relief in the thought that we can either pause or even back off before moving forward again.
I hope everyone has a lovely weekend! We had friends over for ribs and ice cream last night and are headed to my parents’ today to catch up with some of our best family friends who are in town from Boston.
Here are a couple fun links from around the web:
How Finland starts the school year. Makes so much sense.
LOL. Sorry, Nick.
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