The Practice of Being Mindful

Yoga was tough today.

I have been practicing yoga on and off for years. I realized early on, that yoga is the best exercise regimen for me.

I was always the girl who was picked next to last for basketball, softball, soccer, kickball and all those other games that involved good hand-eye coordination and speed. I lacked both.

This is not to say I wasn’t active. I enjoyed riding my bike, jumping rope, playing on the playground equipment. My sport? Badminton. I was a fierce player who knew how to smash a shuttlecock over the net.

But, as I grew older, I needed an exercise routine that was less competitive, and more forgiving. Aerobics was too punishing, and the gym was too intimidating. I needed what yoga provides- total acceptance for where I am on any given day.

Some days I am a yoga warrior. I feel incredibly strong, limber and challenge myself to go beyond the basic poses.

Other days, I come to the mat tired, stressed and defeated. I’m not sure what my body is capable of doing. So, I focus on my spirit. I ask my body, “what do you need from me today?”

I stay very mindful of each ache and pain. I come into my stretches slowly, savoring the warmth that begins to build.

If my mind begins to race, or my body begins to balk, I slip back into down dog, or child’s pose. I listen to my breathing and I reassure my spirit that it’s all ok. There is nothing to prove, no race to win.

Transition time into middle age has taught me a similar lesson. Each day I start fresh. The problems of yesterday are done. I will focus on this day alone. I will listen to my inner voice. “what do I need today?” I will check in periodically, and if I am feeling stressed or off task, I try to bring myself back to a place of peace.

At this stage of my life, I understand that all things are temporary. There is no permanence. So, live each day as a fresh start. Let go of preconceived notions, and inflated expectations. Everyday is an opportunity to do the best that you can, with what you have.

© annettealaine-2012

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