Tuesday, October 11, 2011

finding focus

one of the things that has helped me over the last month to focus is the practice of yoga.  now don't get nervous that i am about to get all new agey on you.  it's not like that. ok, maybe a little.

i've taken yoga many times over the years.  some more intense than others.  i am currently taking a class that i love.  it's not difficult.  i can handle the poses pretty easily.  i consider it my "break" from the tougher work outs throughout the week.  

i love that i am comfortable with it.  it makes me feel stronger, to be able to hold the poses or do the stretches.  i can even go into a pose without looking at the teacher for reference.

but here's the difference:  she refers to the yoga class as a practice.  hmm, never considered it like that.  

practice:: Perform (an activity) or exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to improve or maintain one's proficiency.

that's what i'm doing.  i'm not taking yoga or going to yoga or doing yoga.  i am practicing yoga.  

one of the things i admire about just about every yoga instructor i've ever had is their calmness and visible peace.  well that and their body's are a work of art.  i don't think that any workout gives you the body that yoga does.

every move that we do is with intention.  don't just put your foot there,  place your foot with intention.  don't just twist your body, feel the movement vertebrae by vertebrae.  everything has a purpose.  you focus on the movement of your body, for stability, for strength, to the point of feeling comfort not pain.  

a huge focus is on breathing.  in...and out.  i realized that i take very shallow breathes.  once i started concentrating on filling my lungs completely and then letting the breathe out completely it automatically gave me a sense of release and calm.  and it's something i have to practice throughout the day.  

yoga is also about taking your time.  listening to your body and easing into the moves.  not like yesterday when i was talking myself out of slowing down on the treadmill, telling myself to ignore the heaviness that i felt, to let go of the weariness and uncomfortableness, to push through.  finishing a run gives me a different sense of strength and accomplishment.  finding the balance is what i'm striving for.

the instructor will tell us to release the tension, even in your toes.  didn't know i had tension there but i do.  we will fix our gaze on one point to help focus and find balance.  isn't that the truth in life?  she tells us to sit tall and relaxed but engage our core for strength.  always be mindful, always be intentional.  

one of my favorite parts of yoga is the relaxation exercise at the end.   i quiet my mind that is usually running a mile a minute; the thought of laundry, the to-do list that i have when i get home, the tough life decisions.  i let it go, for 10 minutes.  i work on blocking out the noise and distraction around me. i find that peace that i know is there.  and that i hope will last till my next class.

yoga helps me breath when the kids are getting the best of me, listen when i think i don't know the answer, focus on what is important right now and find balance when i'm feeling unsteady.  sometimes it works and sometimes it's just not worth it.  but i'll keep trying.  that is why it's called a practice.



beannie said...

Practice makes perfect! So obviously you must practice a lot (because you are perfect, get it?)

Anonymous said...

And it is like biofeedback! Take control of your body!