Don’t you hate those click-bating, sensational titles, like this one? They’re usually along the lines of “You’ll never believe…” and “You won’t guess….” They tell you to grab a handkerchief because you’ll be “blown away by” whatever it is. Ugh.
I’m not misleading–I am writing about the most difficult workout I do–but this post probably isn’t what you’re expecting.
Today has been an absolutely jaw-droppingly beautiful day of sunshine, the kind of day that makes me wish real life were like musical theater and I could burst into song:
My first workout was a run with friends, but I also opted for yoga later in the morning, something to stretch out the back and massage the chronic tightness that comes from years of repetitive motion. I got to class, found my space, and followed along with the progressions, pushing myself to lengthen, hold in my core, and harness energy through my breath. So far, so good.
But then it came time for shavasana. And dammit, if I just couldn’t clear my mind. I’d have a few seconds of stillness and then, bam! I was mentally writing this post about how hard it is to quiet my mind. Then, I’d reel it back in. A few seconds pass–bam! I’d catch myself thinking about how the placement of the child care in juxtaposition to the quiet yoga room is not so optimal. Reel it back, Leah, reel it back. A few seconds–bam…you get the picture. Shutting down the incessant chatter in my head (whether positive, negative, or just inane) was the biggest challenge I faced in that workout, perhaps any workout, perhaps even in life.
There was one yoga class where I achieved complete mental stillness. The instructor was Leana Mooradian, whose comments and instructions had such a literary and inspired slant that I often took away life lessons, probably much beyond the workout that was intended (naturally, I asked her to write for the magazine). I was working with Mooradian in her noon class on a particularly stressful day for me–and the workout felt like a restorative tonic, a reboot. We came to shavasana…and the next thing I knew, Mooradian was calling us to closure. I don’t really know what happened to the minutes in-between; there was such a total and complete mental relaxation that I wondered if perhaps I’d nodded off. There was no doubt, though, that I’d tapped some inner reservoir by finding that stillness; the rest of my day was refreshed and full of new energy.
If I could reach peace once, I can surely do it again. I will simply need to practice stillness. And that is clearly the most challenging workout I’ll ever undertake.
To see Mooradian in action, watch her “Wild at Heart Yoga Flow” video.