The lights are dim. I set up my blanket, blocks, and mat. I choose a playlist. I am ready to practice yoga, or so I hope. My mind has been having trouble letting go, and coming into the moment. The chaos of the city overwhelms me, and I seem to be letting the daily stress in more and more. I sit carefully on the edge of the blanket, and close my eyes. I listen to the vibrations that are making their way to my senses, and calming my nervous system. The fight or flight response turns off. I am just breathing in, and breathing out. I can do this for a few moments, and feel the true meaning of settled. Then I let myself enjoy the comfort a bit too much. At first I do not notice then - I catch myself, and the natural inclination of my brain. I am no longer seeing my breath, now I see a scroll longer than the NJ turnpike of all the stuff I have to do.
I feel my heart rate increase. I instruct myself to calm. I must deepen my breath. I instruct myself to count the breath. I try to summon my sweetest tone. I add a 'sweetheart,' and a 'please' before the instruction, "breathe." I try to remember how I like to speak to someone who is struggling to calm themselves, to soothe themselves. I try to say kind words to myself. Why are we so comfortable saying such harsh things in our inner monologues?
Then I start my count: One - my mind wants to say something, but I can do this - keep going. Two, the breath is brining me a little piece of serenity. Three - is taking me closer to the sky, part of me feels lighter. Four, five, six - I can feel a little space. Seven, eight, nine The count gives my mind a place to attend, but I know I have lifted away from that jubilant place of unknowing. I sit with the feeling. I just let the breath be breath. I watch it play in and out of my nostrils. I watch as the magic of breathing just takes over. All I have to do is sit back and watch. The chaos and the drama of sitting has settled. I am one with the breath. I am present. I am alive.
I know that coming back to the mat with an open heart and an open mind will only bring more love, and positive energy into life. I know that because I have come to the mat with many a differing mood over the years. The old saying is true - you get back what you put out on the mat. Come with love, and receive love; however, you come with anger and that is just what mirrors back. Yoga is a great magnifier of emotion. You can use this practice to grow stronger, calmer, and more focused. You can use this practice to empower your life, and grow your dreams.
The first step is the hardest. Step onto your mat.