Walking is my favorite form of transportation. I walk quickly, with small, brisk steps, relishing the fresh air as it brushes my hair back. Sometimes I people-watch, sometimes get lost in daydreams, sometimes I am struck with and idea for a new blog post (yup, that’s a good walk indeed), and sometimes I “worry walk”.
What is a “worry-walk”? Well, while I’m walking, thoughts start flying. Lists are made, requirements are set, and with each quick step further, I start to worry about how & when I will complete all of the impending doom. I start walking faster, jumping to conclusions and start thinking more, mentally ordering and re-ordering, and start worrying even even more. As if reaching my destination two minutes sooner, panting and frantic, will help with anything…
(Does anyone know if there is a correlation between how fast you walk and how fast your thoughts come in? Hmmm I’d like to find out.)
This morning, in my yoga class, my teacher told me to come down from sirsasana headstand and re-adjust my base. I was surprised because I thought I was doing it just fine. I was upright, upside down, and balancing…
BUT, my fingers were slipping away from each other, which loosened and rolled my wrists outward, which caused my weight to shift back to my elbows, which caused my lower back to jut forward, which started to make the whole pose way more difficult, as I realized from my short breath. I was over-working.
So I came down, took my time to re-adjust the foundation, and wow! I found light and effortless work upside down.
From my own observations, I’ve noticed that so often in yoga and life, we want to just do it, reach it, the final pose, make a beautiful shape, touch those toes. We start by looking towards the end, forgetting about the foundation. Without notice, our heels and toes peel up off the floor and our quadriceps go lax. We start to over-stretch this, sink into that, losing the alignment in our hips and the straightness of our back. The breath tenses and the face scrunches, a sure sign of stress and over-work of the body and mind (which I experience on those worry-walks of mine).
Sure, maybe we’ve “reached” the end we were seeking. Congratulations. Now go get ibuprofen and the heat-pad.
In his book, Light on Life, Guruji Iyengar says, stop and look where you are starting from. Stretch from the root, the beginning. Make your foundation strong. Cover your bases. Then, go forward with intense determination and calm strength. Check your tongue and throat. Are they soft? If they are, it means your mind is at ease and that you are working with awareness, versus ego.
This is what I’ve been trying out in both my yoga asanas and my life asanas: to catch myself when I move into that hot-headed, jaw-clenching over-work mode. To press pause. To push reset.
It is an amazing, powerful thing to be able to experience! Today when I was racing along in a frenzy through the park, I stopped. I made myself walk slower and I relaxed my eyes. It was painfully difficult and felt so wrong, as if I was defying every law I knew about sensible productivity.
But after a few minutes of smooth, slow, purposeful walking, I noticed the whispering trees and the quaint old house that I pass by a zillion times but never really see. I wondered who lives in there and if they like to drink chai on their little balcony that faces the morning sun.
A calm spirit gives me tons more energy to take on the world. I don’t know where on Earth I am
racing sailing off to, but I do know that right now, life is good. A wise one would draw out these moments for as long as she possibly could. Wouldn’t you agree?
- hello, goodbye.
- #foodisbeautiful: the fuel