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.

First 10km Race Ever

At the Finish Line

At the Finish Line

A month ago I had the chance for a spot in a road race that is usually sold out the day registration open. Melissa’s Road Race is a popular Banff road race and has been awarded as one of the best road races in Alberta. Sponsored by the famous Melissa’s Restaurant (a place my parents used to take us to at a very young age), the race is an exciting gathering of locals and runners from all over the province.

So I had my chance to run. I always wanted to sign up for Melissa’s Road Race with the intention of having a goal to work towards. I also wanted to overcome a major fear of mine that I’d developed from bad experiences running track in elementary school: racing of any kind… especially among a large group of people.

Anyways, I had only a month to ‘train’ and I had to just trust that the hiking and climbing I had been doing all summer would help me out. Still, I hadn’t been for a run since May and sprained my ankle in August, so I was feeling a bit skeptical. All I managed to do before the race was run a 9.25 km route and a 4 km route.

Showing up on the race day, I felt a little bit silly… that is until I saw the kind of ‘racers’ that were there. Being a popular road race celebrating its 30th year, there must have been years that some of these people ran, but as time wore on, it turns out they were now settling to walk the whole way. This gave me a bit of a boost of confidence despite the super-runners that were stretching in unimaginable ways beside me.

My iPod pumping tunes in my ears, I was surprised by how fast I was going, but some unseen force was definitely driving me onwards (even up the hill on Tunnel Mountain). I crossed the finish line with a time of 58 minutes and a  pace of 5:48 per kilometre. Is that good? I don’t know.

All I know is that I had a blast and overcome one of my major fears. Amazing.

© Meghan J. Ward, 2009.