Today was my rest day. Choosing to focus on the word rest, I slept until 7:00. For a week day, that is very late for me. Of course it did not go without interruption – my cat got a few pokes in, my alarm went off at 5:15 (hit snooze), and a friend texted me early to see if I was going to cycle class. Fortunately I have no problem going back to sleep, so I felt very rested this morning. After work I did try a new yoga class at a very popular yoga studio in town. I have heard good things about it, so it was worth checking out. This class is an hour long and is called Vinyasa Yoga Basics. Well, it was not so basic. I felt I got a good stretch in. The instructor was quite good leading us through the moves. At the beginning the instructor said to find the meaningful word (mantra?) to focus on through the class and possibly into activities in life. Mine was my new mantra – Break Through.
Yoga is helping me slow down once or twice a week and let the tension go. I am also able to clear my mind and focus on what matters. As for some of the more challenging poses, Break Through really helped. With running and cycling, there are areas in my legs, hips, and back that are very tight. Holding a few positions for “five breaths” (these yogis breathe much slower than I…) can take me to the point I want to break down, quit, stop. That is when Break Through came into play. For me the chair pose (Jim in Sanskrit it is called Utkatasana, take note) is very hard to hold. Running and cycling are hard on my quads, holding a chair seated position with no chair creates a feeling a fire. Break Through. And I did. As I mentioned yesterday, balance is an issue for me. I positioned myself where I thought was the back of the class so I was close to the window wall. I was in the front. So when I would come up into chair pose my face was about arm distance from the shear blinds covering the window. The depth perception was way off and made it difficult to focus. After the fourth time I figured where to cast my eyes so it wasn’t an optical illusion. I learned to look closer than farther away.
After class I headed home. The extreme cold has gone for now and we are experiencing a bit of freezing rain and temperatures in the upper 30′s to lower 40′s. With very cold snow on the ground and the sun had set it was a perfect blend for fog. Pea soup thick fog. Driving home, up and down hills through mostly dark country roads, I had to focus up close. The visibility was no more than 50 feet and I am being generous. I know these roads like the back of my hand, yet I had trouble judging when the road would bend because of the thick fog. My perception was off just like in yoga class. As I drove home I thought how today’s experiences are good to remember. I go through life at a quick pace – there is always somewhere to be, something to do, people to meet. Resting, breathing deeply, clearing my mind and focusing on what is right in front of me is something I need to work on. All too often planning details for events far off clouds enjoying the little things that are happening in the present. Sometimes pea soup thick fog is just what I need to Break Through and remember to enjoy, and seize, today.