The end of a Thanksgiving weekend seems like an opportune time to talk about a change in perspective. Perhaps it’s all in my head, but somehow the state of the world feels shifted during a 24 hours when the majority of the country is focused on the things they are grateful for. I think ever since I was little I’ve closed my eyes on Thanksgiving and Christmas and thought, why can’t every day be like this? As I gear up for a stressful and chaotic next couple of weeks at work, I’m realizing how critical this four day hiatus has been in getting my mind right. I really want to end the year strong–personally, physically, and professionally. I think all of the gratitude in the air has helped with my peace of mind. I know that everything will get done and everything will be ok–even if it doesn’t all get done when and how I think it should.
Many of you remember how devastated I was a month ago when our yoga studio shut it’s doors after fourteen years in the community. My joints and muscles are absolutely miserable without those 26 postures so my hubs and I didn’t waste any time in finding our new place to practice. We were a bit crabby in the beginning because getting to class now requires a subway ride (one whole stop) instead of a walk, and because the prices at the new studio are considerably more. With all that, I am here to confirm: Change is Good. As I’ve gotten better at inviting change into my life–or at least not outright rejecting it, I’ve been able to see the positives more and more quickly.
Being at this new studio has made us realize there was a lot the old one was lacking. I think that the convenience of the old studio, along with the love that I had for one teacher personally, blinded me to everything that had been missing from my practice for a while. I forgot how transformative really good instruction can be. So far, the teachers at the new studio have been incredible and the environment is full of energy and inspiration. It’s only been four weeks, but I’ve already learned/remembered a few things that are making a world of difference for me, inside and outside the yoga room:
- Sometimes the smallest corrections can bring about unbelievably BIG changes. Last Saturday, during bow pose, my teacher instructed me to press the top of my feet into the palm of my hands as I kicked up. I’ve been told to kick up a million times, but no one had ever given me such a clear visualization before for this posture–press the top of my feet into the palm of my hands. It changed everything. My body sprang up into a teardrop in no time and I got the massive backward bend you’re supposed to get but that eludes many in this posture. The relief I felt when I was done was insane; nothing like reversing hours and hours of slumping forward on a computer each day.
- Often advice meant for other people helps me too. Without realizing it, I was stuck in a bit of a rut at our old studio. I was often just going through the motions rather than looking at any moment in class as a real opportunity for growth or change. Now in the new space I’m feeling revitalized and more open and attentive to everything around me. I’ve noticed lately that a lot of instruction being given to my classmates applies to me too. I think with marathon training especially I was very much in “run your own race” mode. While that is generally positive, I’m just now realizing that it also has meant that I can be a bit closed off to what’s going on around me. Whether we are beginners or more advanced practitioners, there is a lot basic guidance that applies to all of us. Sometimes it feels good to be one among many.
- My energy matters in the yoga room, and in the world. I’ve been in a few classes lately that were total killers. This past Saturday was especially brutal. The heat felt relentless as we were all detoxing from two days of gorging on leftover stuffing and too much sugar. All over the room, people were dropping like flies–which is to say that many were taking breaks and resting often rather than pushing through the entire class. All but one guy in the corner seemed content with their limitations that day. This guy was obviously struggling and kept on sitting down. Frustrated, he kept fidgeting and doing other stretches. While it never bothers me when someone next to me sits down, I felt distracted by this guy from all the way across the room. I must not have been the only one because eventually, the teacher asked him to just sit still or take a savasana if and when he needed to rest. She explained that his superfluous movements could make it difficult for other students to concentrate. He obliged and eventually seemed to calm down. All of this got me thinking about the next couple weeks I have ahead of me at work. We are being audited by our studio which basically means Showtime comes in to look over all of our files and make sure we are doing our jobs correctly. I’ve never gotten too worked up over audits cause I know my team and I know we do a good job. Still, a lot of people get pretty stressed during this time. In the past I think I’ve reacted in a way that only added to people’s anxieties. I’d get annoyed when I felt like people were taking the job too seriously. After all, we are making television, we are not curing cancer. (I probably said this out loud, at least once a day.) While I may have been right, I’m not sure I was always helpful. This year I am just going to focus on making the environment lighter and on being useful wherever I can be, even if I think what’s being done is stupid or unnecessary. My actions very rarely only affect me. That’s something I want to continue to remember throughout this holiday season.
Here’s to hoping this rejuvenation of my yoga practice will help keep me open, mindful, and present–in the last 35 days of this year, and beyond.
How about you? Anything you’re learning in your yoga or running or swim regimen that’s really translating into real life lately? How’s your head feeling going into the holiday season? Anything you’re especially dreading that you might be able to shift your perspective on? I wanna hear it all, please do tell…
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