Sunday, May 8, 2011

Lessons from the 40 day Yoga Challenge

I did it.... I finished the 40 day yoga challenge!! Yay! I think it is safe to say that it has been life-changing. No, seriously....I am not being melodramatic, I really do feel that I am calmer, happier and more in tune with my body and mind than ever before. I have learned that yoga is more than just a workout for your body it also trains the mind to be present in every moment of your life. As a planner and organizer by nature it is difficult for me to unburden my mind of future plans, what-if scenarios and the need to know what my next step should be in life. Yoga has started my journey to realizing that.... to quote the Flaming Lips...."all we have is now. all we've ever had is now". Reminiscing about the past or planning for the future only prevent your mind from experiencing what is happening right here, right now. Now does this mean that I am never going to think about how beautiful my wedding day was, or remember the amazing energy I felt in NYC? Probably not. Am I going to become Ms. Spontaneous and ignore my better judgement when making major life decisions? Not likely. I do however hope that my yoga practice will remind me that where I am in life at any given moment is exactly where I am meant to be, and that I can't control the future no matter how hard I try. Even though I don't know what my future holds, I know there will likely be joy and happiness as well as times of struggle and difficulty, but the only thing I can control is how I react to each of these moments that come my way.
Put very is about learning to greet the rain with the same love as you welcome the sun. Feel it, appreciate it and breathe through it.

That being any practice there are bound to be slip-ups or set-backs and I am not proud to admit it but one of mine came VERY shortly after the 40 day challenge. I got an unexpected phone call telling me that I had won the grand prize and it was a trip to Galiano for a yoga retreat! I was initially very excited, but after learning that the trip was just 6 days away I quickly got caught up in the minutiae of how much planning and organizing needed to be done and actually considered not going at all! How would I get there? Should I take the car or walk-on? I would have to take the day off work....can I afford to do that? Would someone be able to cover my shifts? What if I don't like anybody? What if every one is really old and I have nothing in common with them? I get so nervous in groups of people I don't it even worth going? WAIT A SECOND...WHAT???!!??
"Lindsay..... get a hold of yourself! You just won the freaking grand prize and get to go to a beautiful island to do yoga, hike and meet like-minded people. Chances are everyone will be friendly and this is a wonderful opportunity to challenge yourself to open up to new people. Stop being an idiot and just go with the flow for once!"
Once I talked some sense into myself....I was able to escape my planner brain, embrace the joy of winning and truly experience the gratitude for being given such an amazing opportunity. We are not perfect and I will likely have many more times where I will get so lost in the details that I forget to be in the moment, but I am getting better and you know what? I really think that this this minor freakout before the trip actually helped me to shift my perspective and make a concerted effort to really be present in every moment on the retreat. We had beautiful weather, delicious food and I met some wonderful people....all in all a great weekend!
A picture is worth a thousand words, so here is my Galiano photo journal.
My first taste of Galiano.....
just a local playing guitar on a picnic table in front of the  only store on the island

Bodega Ridge...our hosts for the weekend.

Our cute little yoga studio, complete with woodstove and view of the ocean on the left.

Enjoying the view and the reward of our two hour hike

Photo shoot on the beach....testing my balance on a piece of driftwood...."quick take the picture"!!
Turns out that cross-legged pose on a log is not as easy as it looks!

Strike a pose....tree pose!

View from Mount Galiano; how can you look at this view and not feel at peace?

Don't we look happy after a weekend of yoga, hiking, delicious food and wonderful company!

Thanks Semperviva for a great weekend retreat!


1 comment:

  1. That's Tserin in that last picture with you! She's one of my very close friends! Yeah, I found my first 40 day yoga challenge life changing, too. Too bad I was out of town for this last one. I can't wait for the next one. Congratulations!