If yoga has taught me anything (other than I’m one Prius away from being a total Los Angeles cliche) it is how to live in the moment and find content in the present. That was tonight’s theme for my class before work. I am surprised at how well the concept of “Shanti” fit with so many facets of life. If not for the stressful nights at work between making appropriate and punctual ETA’s to dealing with the threats of being fired from one of my bosses whenever we cross paths. To the times on the bike when the going gets tough and requires real mental strength to overcome the more painful situations.
Getting back to the topic of yoga, it has taught me that accepting the pains that may come and go when entering a deeper pose. Instead of blocking things out, a more mindful approach has proven to be the healthier and more beneficial solution. I was not expecting to gain such mental strengths when I first signed up for this month long trial. I wish I could say I have made friends since I have joined, but that wouldn’t be true in the slightest bit. Having overheard a co-worker mention that one of the reasons men choose to take up yoga is to meet a significant other, I too thought I was in it for equal parts this reason along with flexibility. Little did I know my goals changed within the first week. One thing I can’t stop mentioning is how much mental and physical balance I have gained. For once I feel as though I am now communicating with my body on an intimate level I have yet to accomplish. Not only that, but more muscle definition is coming. Perhaps it’s naive of me to think this way, but I would have never thought gaining strength would be an emerging goal from yoga.
Having found a new balance has made me more aware of things like posture and what muscle are aching and need attention at any given time (and the appropriate stretches to correct such feelings of soreness.) I seem to have more control over my body when things like lactic acid begin to build up on the bike. I am reminded of Tyler Hamilton’s book when he mentions dealing with what can be excruciating pains in bike races and the mental strength that came with his experience. If I could summarize what I have gained from this collective of lessons would be an increase in self-esteem. Sure I can be as stuck up as the next snob but if I had to pick whether I felt good or bad about myself more often in a day, sadly it would be the later of the two.
Part of me is going to miss coming to classes and interacting with others during these times. That being said, a bigger part of me will be glad that I can walk away from it with another practice that can compliment my well being. So go ahead and crack all the crunchy hippie jokes you want. I will continue to do my thing and watch you do yours (from a safe, and comfortable distance an introvert can enjoy.)