By BRADLEY ROBERTSON
I am by nature a fast-paced woman. I think fast, I write fast, I walk fast and if I’m not in motion, I’m either completely out of it on a beach somewhere, or asleep.
It is hard for me to be still. The humor here is I’m a writer and one must sit in order to write. On the flip side, it is often the active motion in my life where new ideas and creative juices begin to flow. I have learned that I need both, but to intentionally choose stillness, that will always be hard.
However, it is the hardest things in life that are often the most important. So we take on the hard anyways, so we don’t miss out on creating the absolute best of life, this side of heaven.
Here enters Yoga. An ancient practice of being still and mindful.
My girlfriend Meaghan has been teaching at The Yoga Room in Auburn for a while and sent me a quickie text on a Thursday, “I know this is late notice, but want to come to my 9 a.m. yoga class??”
And since Meaghan is such a fabulous friend and I love spontaneous and new things, I said yes.
“What kind of class,” I asked.
“Heated vinyasa,” said Meaghan.
“Even better,” I thought! I get to catch up with my gal and get a little heated yoga for the win.
And in the back of my mind, the invitation came at the best possible time. I have been struggling with a shoulder issue and had it on my radar to begin some sort of strength building routine. As good as running is for my mental and physical health, there is no strength involved. Running is more endurance and will power over anything else.
So there I was, entering into a yoga class at 9 a.m. I was more nervous than any runners race I had ever been to and my heart was all the flutter just thinking of staying on the yoga mat for a solid 60 minutes. I wasn’t the least bit concerned about the poses and basic ability, it was the slow and still that gave me the willies. But I have never been one to back down from a challenge, so I accepted all things to come and began with closed eyes and slow deep breaths…
That first day, yoga was like having an internal, kind and considerate conversation with my body.
It’s as if my mind said, “Oh hi there. Glad we could join up together, maybe want to get to know each other a little better?”
And my body breathed a slow, deep sigh of relief, “yeeesss.”
And the two became one, listening and paying attention to each other in some kind of unknown space in time, like a transit space, somewhere in between here and there. Nothing else was present.
“Close eyes and settle into your space as you find the present moment…” said my instructor, in a low, soft voice. “Gratitude is all around and always available.”
It literally took no more than a couple minutes for my racing mind to begin to settle. Something I seem incapable of doing at any point in my awake day, and yet there I was, settling my brain.
And when my busy brain began to rest, my body began to move and flow with ease and patience. Not quick, abrupt movements like I’m used to, but calm and cautious, without even realizing it.
It was a stream of quiet moving and slow thinking for the entire class. And it was grand. My body thanked my mind for the connection and together, we felt united.
It was as if time stood still and all the parts of me were able to catch up.
I wondered, had my body never really been still long enough, nor my mind clear enough for the two to meet up?
I don’t think they had.
In a world where we are pulled and tugged in every direction, we don’t even make space to connect body and soul.
We almost avoid it. If we find ourselves still, we pick up the iPhone. If our mind wanders into spaces we aim to avoid, we quickly fill it with music or a podcast, or we call a friend or we just find something to do. We struggle to rest in ourselves and we don’t even do anything about it.
Yoga allowed my body and mind to meet each other face to face, like two old friends joining together at a local café. And right in the middle of them was me, Bradley.
There will always be a fast lane, yoga showed me to take the slow one.
If we can’t slow down long enough for our mind and body to meet, then where in the world will we find ourselves?
I’m leaving you with these words from my dear friend and new yoga teacher, Meaghan Haack.
“May all beings everywhere be happy, free and at peace within their own true self. May we help each other along the way.”