The Real Things a Girl Thinks About on a Hike

Like many people who read “12 Things a Girl is Probably Thinking About on a Hike“, I was left feeling quite disturbed by the shallowness of the piece. I immediately started pondering how I’d rewrite it. A friend of mine and fellow writer, Tera Swanson, beat me to it, and did such a bang-on job, I thought I’d reblog it for you here. It is beautifully written, and one of Tera’s best pieces to date (in my opinion!). Enjoy!

Originally posted on The Wander Journals:

By Tera Swanson

After recently reading an article a friend had shared with me regarding “what girls probably think about on a hike,” it opened some conversation with the women in my life who enjoy the outdoors as to what we did or didn’t relate to, how it portrayed outdoor women, and what our motivations were for getting out there. Turns out that yes, you can care how your hair looks and enjoy hiking too. Or not care. That is also ok.

Hence, I’ve compiled my own 12 thoughts and traits of “girls who hike” that I’ve gathered from these conversations and my own contemplations – let me know whether or not you agree!

1) We check in with our hiking partners. How is everyone doing? What are our group’s strengths and weaknesses, as individuals and as a whole? Sometimes we need a little push to overcome things that seem a lot scarier than they really are. Sometimes we need to pay close attention to our partners when they are becoming more and more anxious, but won’t make the call to pull out. And sometimes we explore with people who are way overconfident in their abilities. It’s important to check in with others, as well as make note of your own thought process and comfort levels.

Read the rest of the article on The Wander Journals.

What You Might Be Missing (Yoga Challenge: Day 26)

Sometimes we’ve just got to slow down.

Resist that knee-jerk reaction to get out of a posture the moment it becomes uncomfortable. Photo by http://www.zizka.ca

Erin read a beautiful passage from Meditations from the Mat today about not rushing in our yoga practise. Running to the finish line will not help us deal with our pain any faster. Thankfully,  nor will it bring us any less grace. We can go from workshop to workshop, trying to find the key to unlock the remaining mysteries of our practise, but we might be moving too quickly.

In this way, it’s like driving somewhere you’ve never been before using only written directions. You know you need to turn right on Spruce Avenue. If you slow down as you approach side streets, you are more likely not to miss your turn. But if you keep cruising at 80km/hour, you are sure to drive right by.

What might you be missing by driving or walking too fast?

Lesson from Day 26

Allow yourself to be nurtured and stretched each day in your practise. Your instructors, including you, the self-teacher, are there to make sure you are safe and protected. Slow down and let yourself be guided through the tough bits.

It is different for each person. I struggle with postures on my stomach. They make me feel claustrophobic. Some balancing postures on my left leg bring out old injuries and, you got it, not just physical ones. The tensions we hold in our body are the result of emotional scars and past experiences as well, which is why when we struggle with certain postures, we may have an emotional, not just physical, reaction.

Lean on others and lean on your mat like it was a warm embrace. Let yourself open up just a little more each day and breathe through any pain that comes up. Work hard to avoid that knee-jerk reaction of getting out of postures that are uncomfortable (while keeping in mind the difference between Discomfort and Pain).

And by the way, there is no such thing as a finish line in yoga. You are already there, wherever you are each day.

Each person's experience on the mat is different. Photo by http://www.zizka.ca

© Meghan J. Ward, 2011.

Love Your Practise (Yoga Challenge: Day 22)

Sometimes it’s as simple as that.

Just love your practise. Otherwise, don’t bother with it. Yes, it will be hard sometimes. You might be sore. Your mind might start fighting off its own mental chatter. But, love your practise like it’s a deep tissue massage (which it is).

Most of us look forward to massages because, even though they may be painful in the moment, it is always better for us. Even the next day might be sore, but we would be worse off without it. I’ve discovered that this is how yoga is for me. It’s a chance to pamper ourselves, challenge ourselves, flush out some toxins, de-stress and grow to be better people all at the same time. I don’t think I’ve quite found something that replaces what happens on the mat, other than some yoga next to my tent after a long, rigorous hike in the backcountry.

Lesson from Day 22

We’re coming around to the last week of the yoga challenge now. I can hardly believe it. And while I’ve already been at it for 22 days now, I’d like to go in this last week with as fresh as slate as the first day I started. There is still so much to learn and to learn to love about yoga and I don’t want all the ups and downs of the previous days to influence my practise too much.

I have learned so much through the challenge already and also begun to put some of those lessons into practise. But, there is something to be said for approaching the mat like I never have before.

I need to learn to love yoga – again and again.

© Meghan J. Ward, 2011.

Healing Your Wounds (Yoga Challenge: Day 9)

If there’s anything I have learned so far through this yoga challenge it’s that there is something new to be learned in every class.

Today’s class was pretty hard for me. My body was weak (again). My arms were sore and tired. But, with this yoga challenge I’ve noticed that I simply can’t be at “my best” every single class. I am used to going to 2-3 classes per week and at this rate it’s possible to feel strong and energized in almost every class. But practising day after day is a bit of a different story. By week four, however, I think my body will be used to its own ebb and flow.

Seeing and feeling the differences in my body from day to day has helped me to really tune into where I’m at and to understand how interconnected my physical being is with my emotions, mental state and spiritual wellbeing. On days when my brain is on overdrive with writing assignments, I often feel heavier in class. When I feel balanced emotionally, I feel more balance overall in my practise. I’ve just learned to appreciate this interconnectedness so much this week.

Lesson from Day 9

During Savasana, Mindy read us a passage written by another yoga instructor in Montreal that said (to paraphrase), “if yoga isn’t teaching us, growing us and creating better people out of us, why bother practise?” Mindy then encouraged us to find teachers that help us grow in our practise and in our lives off the mat. It reminded me of an email I received from my aunt the day I got married:

“I listened to this podcast today (http://drishtipoint.ca/?p=722).  There was a timely quote by Mahrishi Mahesh on the purpose of marriage. The purpose of marriage is to lead you to cosmic consciousness as quickly as possible – to help each other grow to consciousness, to heal whatever is a wound within your own personality. Your spouse is your teacher. Look into each other’s eyes and see your teacher.”

What teachers do you have in your life?  Who and what can help you heal whatever is a wound within your own personality?

© Meghan J. Ward, 2011.