Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Do Something, Day 17

There is no easy button.  Some days, it is HARD to just get up and get moving and do something, like we know we should.  We want to stay in bed, under the warm covers, in the dark, pretending to not hear that alarm going off.  We don't WANT to get up and move.  We don't WANT to go out into the cold morning air to get to the gym for that work out or class.

But.  When we do, when we make ourselves get up, silence that alarm, brush those teeth, and pull on those yoga pants, we know we are making the right call.  The cold air might slap us in the face on the way to the car.  We might think about taking a trip to a coffee shop and pretending we went to class like we were supposed to.  But when we pull into that parking lot and take the steps into the building and get moving?  So much better.

This morning was one of those mornings for me.  I had a foggy head, felt like I was coming down with a little cold, just didn't want to move.  Last night's practice left me creaky and tight this morning, but while it seems counter-productive, I knew another practice was just what I needed to get that worked out.  And I know Wednesday classes are restorative.  That isn't to say they're easy.  We have to hold poses for so much longer than I'm used to, and it challenges the body, but they are calm and relaxing, and I always leave feeling refreshed.

Today during class, our instructor, Brian, was talking about pushing ourselves in the right way.  The mind sometimes says, "No, I don't want to, I can't do this anymore, I want to quit!" in the middle of a difficult pose, or after holding one for a a while.  That is something to push through.  Push those thoughts away, and DO it.  Do it as long as you can, and then for another couple breaths.  Because we have longer boundaries than we think, and we really can do it.

But when it is the body saying, "Ouch!!!", that is a different sort of thing, and it is something to listen to.  We need to be able to tell the difference between our minds and our bodies, and figure out if it's time to continue pushing, or time to ease back into something more accessible to us today.

Something they like to talk about in yoga is "finding your edge."  It means to find that place where you are getting a good stretch, are pushing yourself, up to the edge of pain, but not over it.  You want a little discomfort if you are trying to push your limits.  Discomfort is okay, but pain is not.  You need to find that place where it isn't easy anymore, and hold it there.  As long as you can.  And then two more breaths.

Sometimes in a pose, when you've settled into it for a bit, that edge changes, so we change with it.  That is good.  That is listening to the body, and that's exactly what you want to be doing.

Inhale, lift the spine long, exhale relax into a deeper fold, inhale lift, exhale relax.  Longer and deeper with each breath.  This goes for forward folds, and twists are a similar feeling.  Inhale, lift, and exhale, twist.  But listening to your body all the while, and not taking it further than is safe for you.

And that might change from one day to the next.  From morning to night.  That's fine.  Our bodies are always changing.  We need to be willing to listen to them, and change accordingly.  Our bodies are very smart things, and they know what they can handle.   All we have to do is tap into them, listen, and respond accordingly.

Today, I wish for you peace, calmness in the midst of your hardest moments, and for the courage to press through to the other side.  No easy button.  This is your pose.  Breathe through it.  Namaste.

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