Last week, I attended my 25th yoga class! Hooray!
You’ll remember that I started practicing yoga last fall in an attempt to quiet my mind and improve my flexibility. To be honest, I wasn’t sure that it would ‘stick’. I have difficulty with stillness and mindfulness.
I’ve experienced some ‘successes’ (although in yoga, we’re not really encouraged to think of making physical progress, just doing what feels right for our bodies, at that particular moment in time).
Slowly, I’ve overcome my fear of inversions. I can get into Headstand quickly and hold it for five slow breaths.
My Wheel pose is coming along; I still feel a little panicky when pressing up into it and have to remind myself that my arms are certainly strong enough to lift my torso up. It’s just my brain that lags behind.
Hip openers, like Pigeon pose, no longer make me want to run from the room screaming and I don’t have to watch my foot while setting up for Warrior III.
But what I love most about my Saturday morning yoga class is my instructor’s ‘welcome’. Each week, Chris starts the class by inviting us to think about a particle topic or question while we ‘gather ourselves inward’. Usually, my mind wanders away from the theme and I struggle to return from grocery lists and ideas for blog posts…
Last week, however, the question we were asked to ponder during our practice was, ‘Why are you here?‘. We were asked to take our initial response and dig deeper. To ask again, ‘Yes, but why are you here?’. Over and over and over, until we reached the real reason we had come to practice that particular morning.
Now I won’t bore you with the details of my own internal dialogue , but what struck me about the process was how much it applies to life off the yoga mat too.
All too often, we start something new (a diet, a workout schedule, a skin care regime; these just happen to be the new things I’ve started lately…) without knowing ‘why’ we’re really doing it. For example, a client might tell me that they want to start personal training because they want to lose weight.
Okay. Weight loss is an admirable goal, but knowing ‘why’ they want to lose weight will be an important factor in their success. ‘To be healthy‘ might be the answer to the 2nd ‘why’ and ‘so that I will live long enough to see my children graduate from university‘ the answer to the 3rd. And so on.
Keep on asking ‘why’ and you’ll eventually find the truest reason for making change. (I just realized that I’ve written on this topic before, but clearly, I’m not done with thinking about it. You probably aren’t either ).
I started my yoga practice with the answer ‘I just need an hour to myself’ and left my mat knowing that the morning’s practice was really about becoming a more accepting person; more accepting of myself (warts and all) and the people around me.
Why are you here?