I went to yoga yesterday.
I’ve been to a lot of yoga classes over the years, but this particular one was a new experience for me.
The instructor focused less on power and flow, and more on alignment and the specific postures (with lots of modifications for my very tight hamstrings).
The last fifteen minutes were spent lying down.
Yep. Just lying down. Granted, we switched it up a few times: head above the chest, chest above the head, legs against the wall. All of them opening the chest and heart, allowing space for breath, relaxation and opening up.
Usually this would drive my action- and purpose-centered, driven nature batty. But today the benefits of the slower pace reminded me of what I’m working on in the rest of my life: slowing down.
I generally enjoy yoga for it’s strengthening and toning. I like working hard when I’m working out. Long runs. Challenging terrain on the mountain bike. Power-focused yoga. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the calming nature of yoga (I definitely appreciate that). But I usually enjoy the kind of intense relaxation that comes after an intense effort.
I’ve never had much patience for relaxing just to relax (especially in the physical realm).
For some reason, I seem to have held onto a set of beliefs that say: things that don’t take much effort don’t “count.”
- If my muscles aren’t sore after a workout, I didn’t *really* work out.
- If a talent comes naturally to me and I love it, I couldn’t possibly charge for it because it must some as easily and naturally to everyone.
- If I’m simply lying on a bolster pillow in a yoga class, I’m not really *doing* anything.
But of course, these are false beliefs. We all have them. And when we begin to identify and recognize these for what they are—false—we can begin to let them go.
A workout is a workout. Sometimes we don’t have to feel it to know we’ve done something good for our bodies.
If a talent comes naturally to us, it doesn’t mean it’s natural for everyone. And it’s likely that others might really value that talent and want to pay me for it. That’s a good thing!
And lying still and allowing your body to consciously relax and open up is wonderfully restorative and beneficial for us. Doing nothing is still something.
Opening Up and Letting Go
So it turns out this yoga class was perfect for me. Perfect for allowing me to physically feel the benefits of slowing down. Of opening up, not only my chest, but my heart—to the internal challenges I’m working on, and to accepting the current pace of my life.
Slowing down does not come naturally to me. And it’s not a space I’m comfortable in very long. My natural tendency is to be in motion, both physically and mentally.
After we returned to Boulder post-adVANture, I went from working three days a week to working seven. For months! That’s not sustainable. For anyone (I don’t care who you are or how much you love your job!). It hasn’t been easy to slow down, but it’s absolutely essential.
I’m looking forward to long runs, vigorous bike rides and long climbing days. I’m also looking forward to redesigning my website, updating the copy, developing new products that are valuable, writing more often (maybe even a book!), and expanding my life coaching practice.
Those will come (not soon enough, my impatient self says), but as my body recovers, I am finding a sweet spot in life at a slower pace.
And along with this slower pace comes a better, clearer perspective on what’s important to me personally and to my business. I’m redefining my priorities and finding space to create.
I encourage each of you to take a moment today to lie down with your arms out to your sides. Feel your chest open up as you breath in deeply, allowing stillness and clarity to enter. What can you make space for that you’ve been ignoring? What can you let go of?
What else helps you slow down when you’re feeling harried and overwhelmed with life? Go ahead and share with us in the comments what helps you relax and create space in your life.
If you’re new here, welcome. I’m delighted you stopped by.
Sign up for my monthly newsletter for more inspiration and practical tips to help you get—and stay active. You’ll also receive a FREE email series sharing the 10 Essential Elements of Adventure.