It’s 11:30 p.m. and I can feel the heat penetrating my condo. It’s 25 degrees outside. I can feel a light breeze from the window. It usually isn’t this hot at the beginning of June. It feels like summer to me. On hot days like this, I usually can’t fall asleep until the temperature cools down.
It feels like I’m actually in a hot yoga studio. The heat causes me to close my eyes and focus on nothing but my breath. Just breathe. This is the beginning of my nightly mindful meditation practice before bed (except this evening it’s evidently the subject matter of one of my posts).
So many thoughts are racing through my mind. The first thing that is going through my mind is the pain that I am feeling from injuring my hamstring this weekend during a tough yoga class. Apparently nursing yoga injuries is quite commonplace, and I can see why. In addition to this pain, I recognize other passing thoughts of work, family, and friends; thoughts of the past nine months and the next nine to come. I could worry (like I would nine months ago) about tomorrow or all next week or even all next year about these thoughts. They are just fleeting thoughts in my mind. They are not what is in this moment.
In this moment, despite the pain from my injury, as I focus on my in and out-breath, I literally can feel the pain dissipating slowly from my hamstring. My heart is beating softly. I feel a deep sense of peace in this place. Here, I am experiencing the healing quality of the breath take over my body. As my yoga instructor taught me, the breath can be channeled to various parts of the body that are injured and require restoration. Sending the breath literally into parts of your body. It sounds like crazy-talk, but I am a believer. And it works (speaking for myself only). Just breathe.
In this moment, I see an image of myself – like a before/after picture – someone who has undergone a deeply personal transformation that has improved my overall spiritual, emotional and physical well being. Someone, who for the first the time in so many years, is smiling again. (As an aside, my mother has always said I have a beautiful smile and that I should smile more).
I see myself as someone who is lucky to have been saved from a destructive path of mindless living – an automated path of living that was filled with stress, anxiety,and simply empty of meaning. That path was destined to lead me to early coronary heart disease and any number of chronic stress-related illnesses.
In this moment, I can see myself as someone who is genuinely excited to live these tender and precious moments of life with intention, self-compassion and love for my fellow man; as someone who knows they are strong, disciplined, valued, and deserving of all the fruits of pure happiness and joy.
Each and everyone of us, as it turns out, is deserving of all these things. If only we would all stop and literally, “smell the roses”. How fragrant they truly are!
In this moment, I choose light, not darkness. I choose to surround myself with love, not hate. I choose optimism over negativity or fear.
At the beginning of most yoga classes, a student is asked to set their “intention” for their practice. It can change from class to class, or remain the same. It’s entirely up to the student to put out their intention into the universe. But, that intention is there to guide, uplift, and motivate the student through their practice.
What I’ve expressed here tonight is my intention not just for my yoga practice – but just as importantly, it is my intention set for my yogic life and journey in mindfulness.
An image just came to mind of the type of yogi that inspires me to live my life mindfully and to push my limits each and every day – that image is of the desert yogi, Dylan Werner:
I wish you all wonderful week ahead filled with many joyous and mindful moments. Now, I’d best be off to bed, I’ve got yoga at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow (err this morning!).