spiritual self-exploration through health, fitness, and nutrition

Posts tagged ‘happiness’

Day 26: All Downhill From Here

For the last week or so, my favorite instructor Insel has been away from the studio. Today, he came back and I attended his 6pm class. Another super packed one as anticipated, so I’m glad I showed early.

It was another strong day for me despite the extreme heat and intense energy in the room. But it didn’t start that way. For some reason, I got really lightheaded during pranayama breathing and almost had to kneel. I think my mind was wandering too much and I slightly panicked as a result of the sensory overload all around me. Just as quickly as that feeling overcame me, I conquered it. And it was all downhill from there 🙂

Here are some of the major improvements I’ve been seeing in myself over the course of the last few weeks (I’ll expand on these in my final day’s post, and give a few tips for anyone who’s thinking of doing the challenge themselves):

  • Strength: Unlike my regular running days a couple years ago (which slimmed me down & strengthened my leg muscles), I’ve increased muscle strength all over my body.
  • Flexibility: Each day, I’m able to go juuuust a little bit deeper into my stretch. I wish I could’ve had someone photograph me in each posture in day 1 and compare it to now. Big improvement!
  • Breathing: My lung capacity has grown tremendously. I admit I used to be a casual smoker (picking one up only when I had an alcoholic drink in my hand), but since starting this challenge, I’ve stayed away for good. And cut back on drinking significantly.
  • Confidence: Although I started this challenge with a healthy level of confidence, I feel like this part of me has grown but not to a level of cockiness or self-righteousness.
  • Compassion: I am gentler and listen so much better not only with others, but also to myself. It’s like I’m more in tune with my inner voice.
  • Mental Stability: Road rage? Gone. Mood swings? Dampened. Panic & anxiety attacks? No more. I can go on and on. This is probably the greatest benefit of all!

I know I’m probably missing a few items but I know I’ll think of them before post #30 🙂

Advertisements

Day 19: Discovering the Joy Within

“I know, it’s hot in here, but it’ll be cool soon. Just get over it.”

“If you’re thinking of something else, you’re not doing the posture correctly. Lock the knee. Tuck chin to chest. Don’t think. Just do. Stay in the moment.”

“What the mind perceives, the body can achieve.”

These are just a few of the many quotes of wisdom that Francisco shared with us tonight. I really love his class because not only am I going in with no expectations of what I’ll be able to accomplish in my practice…but I also have no idea what types of stories he’s going to share! He had a bunch of us cracking up in the first half of class, then toned it down in the 2nd half by telling us about some really serious, hard times he’s been through in his life. And how yoga has helped him be more in touch with his emotions and conquer his fears, by letting out all that was being balled up inside.

His story really struck a bittersweet chord in my heart. We all have our own stories of struggle, pain, and loss.. but to be able to talk about that openly with others is so very humbling and helps to appreciate the present moment. Yeah I’ve been through some hard times, but I got through it. Yoga tonight was harder than usual, but I got through that too. While this is much like my marathon training in the last couple years, I didn’t really get the sense of calm from running the way I do with yoga. I’m finally starting to let go of temporary pleasures in my life and discovering inner joy through this experience.

Eckhart Tolle said it best:

“Pleasure is always derived from something outside you, whereas joy arises from within.”

Tag Cloud