Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Back. So fresh and so ready!

So, I’ve had this blog for a long time and for the past year it has been left dormant.  It’s not because I don’t love it, or I ran out of things to say, but rather, life happened.  In the past year and a half, I got engaged, switched jobs, planned a wedding, my parents separated, I married my love, and I started teaching and training at an amazing CrossFit affiliate in addition to staying loyal to my other yoga center, Empowered Yoga.  So I mean…I had things to do.

By starting so many different things and new stages in my life, I am learning heaps and it’s tremendously exciting.  Even more exciting, is the amount of questions I have.   So, my dream is to use this blog again as an opportunity to explore all this with you all again. 

I hope I am not alone here, but I thrive on curiosity.  I need stimulation and speculation, doubt and fear.  And nothing tests that like walking into a situation as a brand-spanking-new beginner.  Trying something new forces me to test my mental and physical strength, and nothing is more eye-opening and humbling.  It’s uncomfortable to walk into a room full of people who (whether assumed or not) are not as brand new as me.   I go through the stages of thinking, will I be decent at this, will this be uncomfortable, will people be nice to me, and of course, why the heck did I want to do this again?!  My first time walking into the CrossFit gym, I did so knowing that I had committed to teaching—so I had to do it.  (Don’t get me wrong, I really wanted to be awesome at all those crazy lifts and upside-down things, and I wanted to look really good.) But when I walked into a room with a ton of buff, good-looking guys grunting and lifting heavy things and ladies cranking out pull-up after pull-up, there was that moment of ‘OOPS,’ and mapping out the quickest exit route.  That moment when you say to yourself, ‘Nevermind, I am okay just the way I am.’

But we’re not. 

That’s why we wanted to try something new.  We can see our potential deep down and wanted to give that awesome self a chance to shine.  The only thing standing in our way is our mind.  We all know the first time at anything is a little terrifying, but we can allow that fear of the unknown to light a spark deep inside.  

Over the weekend, I took a friend from CrossFit to a workshop on asana and mediation.  She is one of the veteran CrossFitters; being there from the very beginning and feels very comfortable lifting heavy things.  I, on the other hand, am now a veteran yogini and still feel more comfortable on my mat.  We take each other out of our comfort zone and have been teaching each other a lot.  The added benefit of seeing someone going through something we went through for the first time is enlightening and humbling all at the same time.  But, I digress.  So in this workshop we revisited the principles of meditation and I was reminded of the way the mind works and how often it stands in our way.  Meditation is not about thinking of nothing, but rather just noticing your own habits of thought and working to create a calm and peaceful mind.

When you let your body remain still and you begin to notice the mind, it doesn’t take long to realize the mind is a noisy, noisy place.  While practicing meditation in the workshop, I envisioned my mind as a sky, with my thoughts being these swirling clouds of noise.  It’s here in the clouds that I have my thoughts of mediocrity, doubt, asking what’s for dinner, am I going to like this and of course, when is this over (just to name a few.)  I notice that my thoughts circle back, even when I notice them and try to “put them out.” 

It took time, but by the last sitting in meditation, I found my breath.  For a brief moment, it was calm.  I could hear the breath in my lungs and it felt like energy.  I was calm and relaxed and the best part, I felt open.  But then I thought, ‘this is awesome!’ and it was all downhill from there.  The thoughts were back, but this time they were positive.

Where am I going with this?  I’m almost there—patience, santosha.

January is a great time for people to decide to change their life’s path, exchange old habits for new, and to set goals to be better people in the New Year.  It’s usually a combination of our minds and bodies telling us what we want and deserve to be, and we set forth with our New Year’s Resolutions.  We set A LOT of goals and we intend on keeping them.  But come February, the mind begins to grow tired with all our big plans and high hopes—learning something new is hard!  The mind begins to quit before the body ever does.  In between workouts we give our body rest, but we never really thing about our brain. 

Therefore, I propose that in order to reach our new goals (physical or not—give your mind a break—and meditate.  We need our mind to push us, to give us motivation, and to drive us.  But if overworked, its influence begins to backfire.  So maybe try something new and different—try sitting and breathing.  

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