Have you ever noticed just how quickly you move through a day? I remember when I worked a corporate job and sat at a desk, four hours could go by without me getting up once to go to the bathroom. I have those moments now in my yoga life where I'm running from class to class, and I rarely get a chance to stop and just take it all in. I get tired when I don't stop, actually exhausted. I'm blessed to have a full plate, but am working towards being very mindful of my energy so that plate doesn't get too overwhelming for me. I'm always checking in with myself to make sure I'm taking care of me while I take care of others.
I'm exploring the pause this week...
Years ago my friend and the person I consider to be one of my greatest teachers, Jodi Epstein, had an entire class built around pausing in between postures to take in everything. I've never forgotten that class, but I have sadly stopped practicing many of those principles. These several years later I am finding that class whispering in my ear again. Last week was a busy week for me, more than usual as I was preparing to lead my first Reiki Level 1 attunement as Master Teacher. It was an honor for me to do this, and it definitely was one of the highlights of my life. As I was preparing my materials, binding my manual, and energetically practicing the work I needed to do I suddenly stopped one day and could feel my energy moving at an overwhelming pace. I sat and paused just observing myself and what was happening in my body. I felt so fatigued in the middle part of my week that in the middle of a chaotic day when I had a break I found myself laying down on my bed. I had so much to do...I had the choice between possibly two hours of sleep and getting nothing done, or no sleep and getting everything done. I compromised with myself and laid on my bed and said "I will give myself 30 minutes to lay here. If I fall asleep I will get 30 minutes of pure rest. If I can't sleep I will get up and move." Something interesting happened to me when I laid there...my mind ran a mile a minute. I kept going over all of the tasks I needed to do, wondering if I was tired or if I was really procrastinating (see last weeks blog). Suddenly I realized I wasn't giving myself permission to just hit pause. I wasn't letting myself surrender to even just a few minutes of rest. The minute I took the pressure off of myself and said "ok it's 30 minutes just BE with yourself, and let go of all of that"--I was able to truly rest in 30 minutes. I climbed out of bed and hit my tasks head on with more vigor and stamina than before.
This was a huge lesson for me, I needed to pause more. I want to try to pause in my life off of the mat, knowing there is value even in the briefest of pauses. I can fill my well in 20 minutes in so many ways. On the mat we often push ourselves through this fast pace, or we give over to our mind chatter and rarely get to experience what is actually happening in our bodies. It's interesting to find a soft pause in those first few moments after our first downward facing dog, or as we transition from Warrior II to Half Moon, or when we come down from wheel. Those moments of pause allow us to see our inner life, what's really going on, and give us a brief moment to gather our peace.
This week on the mat we will practice a delicate pause throughout our practice. Simply noticing and pausing in moments softens us, allows us to move forward with more grace, and gives us a sense of where we're at in our practice. Join me this week in working on pausing on and off the mat. I think we'll all be glad we did.
Check out my schedule yogis...I'd love to see you all on the mat. Some great happenings. My Surya folks I'll be leading The Surya Yoga Wine Retreat on July 16th...check out www.suryayoga.com for more info and please join me! Some exciting news will be around the bend at some point...people have been asking for retreats. It's coming my friends...it's coming.
Love and light to you all!
It's Sunday evening and I'm surrounded by peace, quiet, my two pups, food, and my giant to do list. You see I don't really have the time anymore to devote to computer time, or really doing a lot of the administrative tasks that my career and life demand of me. I do a lot of it on the go and then rely on pockets of time in front of the computer to catch up. I'm blessed to live a lifestyle where my work travels with me. I don't sit for nine hours in front of a desk, I'm traveling and am constantly on my feet. Since teaching I've gotten into a funky habit of procrastinating on major projects, blaming the lack of down time on my avoiding the task at hand. I will admit I've always been a procrastinator, but lately I've tipped the line between being laid back ZEN about getting shit done and just plain old putting off stuff I don't want to deal with.
I had a moment of realization the other day when I finally got out my paper to do list (I recommend it...old fashioned works) and I organized myself. I knew throughout my days that I had some big things in the wings waiting for me but I just didn't want to deal with them. I found myself examining the big question the other day as I faced my enormous list of to dos: WHY? And I realized I was avoiding discomfort. The discomfort of having to push through some vulnerability in some of my projects quite honestly scared me...the discomfort of having to have some challenging conversations that needed to be had (I really dislike difficult conversations)...the discomfort of looking at my busy schedule and saying "how can I possibly fit this one thing in and make it work?"...the discomfort of looking at that high credit card balance that I need to pay off. Do you smell a recurring theme here? DISCOMFORT! It's not my favorite feeling and I speak about it a lot in my classes, because it's important to acknowledge the difference between pain and discomfort. So my procrastination is really based out of avoiding discomfort...even knowing I can break tasks down into little pieces I still avoid the inevitable start of the task. What's funny is when we're pushed at the end of a deadline suddenly our procrastination unfurls itself, somehow we do three weeks worth of work in one day.
I don't know about you but I'm really tired of procrastinating in my life. It sucks to admit that, because it means there will be challenging conversations, vulnerability will be present, and we'll have to hit the ground running on projects and actually break them down into doable tasks. My state of well being is compromised when I have tasks, bills, responsibilities, projects, etc all hanging in my mind cloud somewhere with no real sense of status (sound familiar?). There are certainly things I can immediately take care of that I will admit I don't do. If we look at ourselves on the yoga mat, most of us will see this parallel on the mat as well. We put off really slowing down and focusing on our alignment...."oh I'll be better about going at my own pace and really paying attention to my knee alignment next time." Or "Gosh I really want to try crow pose, but maybe next time I'll have the arm strength to try it." This un-serving cycle hits on the mat and we procrastinate even in our own practice! We are avoiding that discomfort, and even avoiding the beginning of new depth in certain asana. We refuse to even attempt to begin with step one because it's vulnerable and it's really uncomfortable to do what we don't know...and taking on a deeper expression of asana can be daunting especially when all we're thinking of is the outcome.
I want to encourage myself and my students this week (and you) to just become aware of when you're putting something off in your life and on your mat. Just notice it, and be kind to yourself. If it's something you can really take action on in the moment, take that first step. Even if that first step feels scary. Notice if your mind wants you to put it off and put it away until later, and ask yourself "can I do something about this NOW?" I'm learning that when we take the action (even if it's small) towards accomplishing or doing something then we are in this delicious state of flow in our lives. If you're on your mat and you notice yourself wanting to put off even trying to get into a posture that seems challenging, or even avoiding step one...just take a breath and ask yourself if this is you avoiding that discomfort and procrastinating on the first step? Of course if you have an injury or something doesn't feel right DO NOT do it...I'm not talking about pushing through pain, but I am talking about finding a state of flow in your life through letting go of procrastination. The state of flow is taking that step and acknowledging that YES I MIGHT FAIL! YES THIS MIGHT FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE, BUT DAMNIT I'M GOING TO DO IT ANYWAYS...THAT my friends is flow. It's not always pretty and it's not always glamorous. I'm in this with you this week, and promise that I will ask myself the same question over and over again. And I will show compassion to myself by not putting things off any longer.
Join me on the mat this week as we examine this and we move through a delicious and challenging practice with a few challenging that will keep you moving and will demand you stay in the flow.
Namaste my loves!