The struggle

Sometimes it is a struggle to stay on the right path.  I like to believe I walk close to the right path, but my yoga practice has made me aware of things I never noticed before.  I know I stray from the path, but lately I wonder if I  am not on the wrong path all together.

In aspects of my life I once thought I was happy I find myself wanting.  I feel myself coming to a crossroad in my life.  At this point in time the view is not clear enough to tell what this crossroad is or where the roads leads.  I just feel there is a change that needs to take place just around the corner, so to speak.

I began a weekly yoga practice nearly a year ago, I must admit I don’t spend as much time on the mat as I should or would like to even, but I dedicate some time every Tuesday. I never realized I was changing. I could feel my body growing stronger and a bit more balanced, but that all I thought was changing. I have recently realized a change in my thoughts. Sometimes I frustrate very easily typically when others around me are obsessing over things that won’t really matter in the grand scheme of their lives. I have attributed this to realizing we are not traveling the same paths, which is okay. Once I recognize it’s just a difference of where we are in our emotional lives the frustration dissipates. I am now beginning to understand why most literature says you should clear your mind of expectations of what yoga or meditation will do. I always thought the practice of meditation and yoga would help clear my mind not muddy the waters further.

Continuing in my noticed changes, the past few months I have found my satisfaction in my employment wanting. Where I once found enjoyment and nuance, I now find routine and frustration. When I started this position, I believed I had found my dream job. Now I daydream about being somewhere else during the work day or long to be outside enjoying life instead of cooped up in an office. Many days at lunch I sit outdoors under a tree and write, when its time to return I long to stay out. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy my job and I love my coworkers, but there is something missing. A sense of fulfillment. I know what I do keeps the department moving smoothly and I know I am needed and appreciated. It’s something internal. I feel drawn to do something different, I am just not sure what yet.

I have decided yoga and meditation has made me much more aware. Aware of my feelings, surroundings and balance. I do not claim my dissatisfaction was not there before I started yoga, it was merely unnoticed. I am much more aware of the balance in my life or when something becomes unbalanced.

Most of my noticed changes are a positive thing, even if they do not sound like it. I am glad I have noticed the irritation some people cause me that way I can mentally prepare myself when I have to be in contact with them. I am also glad I noticed my dissatisfaction in my job. I noticed it before the downward spiral of job performance issues that soon follow. I am still in a position to change.

But best of all I have noticed the quality of my relationships. The intimacy shared between two true friends or your significant other. I have noticed in the past few months the bond of my relationship with my fiancé grow stronger.  We are closer and more open with one another.

I love what my yoga practice has done for my life!

Approaching tomorrow with apprehension

Tomorrow is yoga day.  Though since Monday was a holiday I am hoping that my cohorts will remember and show up.  I have done my pre-yoga homework and have selected a routine for class.  I think this one will be agreeable.  It’s a thirty-five minute fire flow.  It moves at a medium pace.  Last week I choose one that was too fast and the week before one that was too slow, so I think this one will be the balance between. 

I am not worried about the actual yoga routine being met with criticism, but more the guided meditation I have picked.  I have found myself wanting to add a ten to fifteen minute mediation into my yoga practice, but the other gals don’t always seem as receptive to it.  I have gotten questions like what’s the point of mediation, what am I supposed to be doing because I keep falling asleep.  I listened to the full mediation audio this evening.  It is a mediation on mindful living, it is a fantastic practice by Bernie Clark.  My apprehension lies in it ‘s deep Buddhist origins, but most of my participants are devout Christians.  I think the message is fantastic, but I don’t know if they will approach it with open arms.  Here is to broadening horizons and hoping for the best.  I hope my apprehensions are misplaced!

Interest is growing

As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, interest in indoor activities increase, or at least they seem to be with my little yoga group. After last weeks practice I realized we should do a short segment on proper alignment and modifications. During our practice I like to place my mat in the middle so I can watch the movements of the other two women who are practicing with me. This way I can gauge any corrections that might be addressed and skill level. If they are struggling with any particular pose or routine I can make sure not to exceed their skill level for the upcoming practices. I don’t want to see any one get injured.

After our sessions we have a short conversation about the practice while we are putting the conference room back in order. I will share any insights I have learned from my practice, such as the realization of what “relax into a pose” actually meant and how to achieve that or any posture corrections (not that my postures are perfect by any means). We also talk about what we liked or didn’t like about the session in order for me to plan the next set of videos. Last Tuesday I noticed one of the gals having to look back at the screen a lot in order to know what pose we were in along with her stance in Warrior II not being quite wide enough. That particular video was using a lot of the Sanskrit names and she hasn’t taken classes at a studio before. So I approached her on the way to her car and asked if she would find it beneficial to have a video on proper alignment and modifications of common poses. She thought it would be a great idea, so I approached the other woman on Thursday and she also thought it would be nice.

I decided this Tuesday’s practice would be a very basic class on poses and modifications. I thought it might welcome others into our group that might be a little scared of yoga due to misconceptions about what it means to practice yoga. In my best sales voice (I used to be a membership representative with Nielsen TV Ratings), I constructed an email and sent it to several individuals who had expressed interest, but had yet to make time in their schedule to join us. I let them know it was a truly beginner class and no experience was necessary. I also added a line in it attempting to convince them to take time out of their busy holiday schedule and do something for themselves and join us for 30-40 minutes on the mat. I also gave them the standing schedule and an approximate amount of time each session lasted. I am hoping to grow the group by a couple of people, but if it remains the three of us I am alright with that as well.

Where does the time go?

It seems like just yesterday I sitting outside enjoying the sunshine eating my lunches.  Today I wake up to a dusting of snow and frost on my windshield.  Perhaps its just me, but the days have been flying by.  This year is coming to an end and a new beginning is just around the corner.  Hopefully all of you have accomplished some goals this year or at least started the ball rolling.

Normally I would reserve this sort of post for after Christmas in preparation for the new year, but recently I have been in a reflective mood.  I have not been dwelling on the past nor the future, but merely observing the paths I am on and where they will lead.  I am attempting to just observe and not cast any judgment.  This is actually more difficult than it seems.  I can see a course I have unintentionally set out upon and am glad I started that small journey.   I have been attempting to be more aware or mindful of the present.

I hesitate in using the term Mindfulness as it seems to be the ‘hottest’ new catch phrase.  mindfulness is defined as being completely in touch with and aware of the present moment, as well as taking a non-evaluative and non-judgmental approach to your inner experience.  It seems everything is tagged with being mindful these days.  What I considering being mindful is when I am in tune with my surroundings.  I have a sense of what is going on around me.  I am aware of what I am currently doing and how my actions affect things around me.  I have also been on a mission of sorts to be aware of my emotions and the causes behind them to attempt to correct any misconceptions I may have.

Probably one of my favorite things to do in the morning is to watch the sunrise while driving to work.  The hues are the most beautiful and it seems to start the day off right.  I have found solace in the small things in life.  It seems looking back on the things that make me the happiest are often the simplest things in life.

I have been noticing a more dramatic shift in this direction in the past several months.  During those months I have started a meditating more often and committed to a more regular yoga practice.

What I invite you to do is think about the times you are the happiest, what are you doing?  And how can you replicate that effect into everything you do?  Start thinking of some goals to make for the coming year, the new beginning is just around the corner!

Forget the 5 hour energy

Forget the 5 hour energy supplement or the vitamin water with all those B vitamins! While meditating during my lunch break for the past few days I have noticed I haven’t been getting that midday slump. Just a quick five minute breathing meditation is like hitting the reset button. I feel relaxed, calm and recharged.

Monday after I finished eating my lunch I got on my go to site and found a five minute grounding meditation by Sura. It starts in an easy sitting position. Since I was outside at the picnic bench I just sat in an upright position. After less than a minute I discovered I was not comfortable. So I moved from the picnic bench to the sidewalk. I felt kind of silly sitting on the sidewalk by the parking lot meditating, but I wanted and needed to do it. Lucky for me the west parking lot is not very busy when I take my lunches.

Tuesday again I was sitting at the picnic benches in the parking lot for lunch. I attempted to complete a longer 11 minute meditation practice. I was half way through then the area was way too distracting. I quit five minutes in and took my dish back into my office grabbed a bottle of water and pulled up my Enya station on Pandora. With my earphones in I walked out the building towards the “fire” side (the building is split between the police department and the fire department).  The back of the building on their side has a little pond with a dock and benches. I laid on one of the benches closed my eyes and focused on my breath. I laid there for an additional twenty minutes just relaxing and coming back to present when my mind wandered. It was wonderful.

Wednesday and Thursdays there was nothing notable about my meditation practice as I did it at home.

Friday after I finished my lunch I wanted to find a shade tree to sit under. I recalled there was a patch of a half dozen tree towards the front of the property, but still blocked from the view of the highway. I put on my Enya station again and sat under a small tulip tree finishing this post. As I sat there I felt the urge to meditate. It was quiet with crickets chirping, the sun shining on my faces and a warm breeze. It would seem it was the perfect environment.  I sat in an easy sitting position with my eyes closed listening to some sound-scape music.  The sun was shining on my face and the wind was blowing gently across my face.  I felt as if the wind was carrying away all my troubles and the sun was pouring positive energy into me.  It was absolutely blissful.

Lunch time Meditation

Last week I decided to do something a little different with my lunch break.  Normally I drive down to Whole Foods Market and make a salad and drive back and spend the short amount of time I have left eating or updating a blog.  Thursday I was a amped up, it could have been the pending day off or I just hadn’t done my yoga as much as I should have.  I decided I would sit down and meditate during my lunch, after all I do have a full hour of lunch that I normally waste, but talking or doing generally unproductive things.

A couple of weeks prior I had signed up to receive mediation emails.  Yoga Journal has a 28 day meditation challenge, Meditation Revolution, you will received daily emails for 28 days.  I hadn’t taken the time to start this practice, so I decided lunch was a good time to start.  I opened the first email on my phone, and it had a small yoga hip opener, which I decided since I was in public and in dress clothing I was going to pass on, and an audio file.  As many of us Android phone user have discovered our phones no longer support flash players.  So I was unable to open my audio file, unfortunately I have yet to begin this Meditation Revolution practice, since I want to be able to meditate on the go.

Since I was unable to open my email’s audio file, but could watch the video, I decided to fall back on my trusted MyYogaOnline site.  I found a short 6 minute breathing meditation, which by the way was what the Meditation Revolution daily mediation was as well.  I didn’t want to sit in lotus in the middle of the parking lot at work so I sat at the picnic bench as straight as I could engaging my core muscles.

I sat uninterrupted for the entire six minutes which surprised me, as there was a storm coming in and I heard a car come into the parking lot.  Normally when one of our police officers pulls into the parking lot and sees me at the picnic bench they will either come talk with me or hit their siren, normally making me jump half way to the moon.  But Thursday was different, I sat there enjoying my meditation with my eyes closed and listened to my breathing and felt the stress melt away as I became more aware of the present.  After my meditation was completed the officer that pulled in came over to talk to me and asked what was up as we walked into the building.  I told him I just finished my lunch mediation and he stated he saw me and was wondering what I was doing.  We had only been in the building for a few minutes when the downpour started.  Then the day proceeded as normal.
I have decided I will continue my lunch time mediation as it made the day go much better and I felt more energized for the second half of the day.  I am and have been a strong advocator of meditation, now I am happy to notice it fits into my lunch routine as well.

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