Sunday, November 27, 2016
Yoga has never really been my thing. Sure I've had stints of semi-regular attendance, and I have practiced with some truly incredible teachers, but if given the choice I will almost always choose something else.
Sorry, yoga--it's not you, it's me.
But while I am still (slowly) recovering from a broken ankle and needing something to pass the time, yoga has re-entered my life.
It should also be mentioned that yoga, to me, has always been about flexibility. Maybe a light sweat, perhaps a bit of a detox. But it has never been a spiritual place. I don't come to my mat to work shit out. And I don't meditate.
Until a few months ago.
Before you (I) get all judge-y and skeptical, I came to mediation as a desperate attempt to work through the insomnia that's been chasing me this past year. I figured that if maybe I listened to someone tell me to breathe instead of listening to the dizzying swirl of thoughts in my own head, I could get some relief. And let me tell you, that shit works.
But even so, it was always guided. A podcast or an app lulling me to sleep. Someone telling me what to think instead of me trying not to think. And it wasn't spiritual. NOPE.
Normally I'm a post-run Yin kind of girl. Maybe a Vinyassa class, if I have no other classes. But somehow today I found myself at a Ashtanga Vinyassa class, and let me tell you, it was incredible. New fav, for sure. And as that class wrapped up, the teacher invited us to stay for his 30-minute mediation class to follow.
30 minutes of meditation? No f-ing way.
But I stayed. The studio was cozy, I was feeling the vibe, and I just wasn't ready to start my day quite yet.
Now normally it's all I can do to make it through a 5-minute, un-guided, meditation without getting antsy. And yes, I have straight up fallen asleep during more than once. But today felt different. I was able to calm my 'monkey mind' and just breath.
Midway through the meditation, the intention shifted from internal to external as we focused on metta. (I realize this shit is getting abstract, but hang with me.) Metta means benevolence or loving-kindness, and is the Buddhist virtue of kindness, and metta meditation is the idea of sending out love and kindness and well wishes into the world. It's the practice of taking in the kindness and energy you need (breathe in), and sending out kindness and well wishes that you can (breathe out).
The shift in energy was real.
We all know when we're around someone who seems to suck the energy out of us. That person that enters the room and seems to change the flow of things. Well, this was the opposite. You could feel the positivity and kindness radiating in the room. As out there as that seems, it was palpable. Something that I hope everyone can experience.
As I was leaving the studio, and reconnecting with (the sometimes overwhelming) social media and 37 different ways I communicate with people, I got a text from a sweet friend of mine. It was random and unexpected and oozing with kind words and love. It was metta.
Yoga. Meditation. Metta.
Who the fuck knew this was so legit.