Mindful Yoga and Meditation

My Active Recovery marches on. Week 5 of Full Catastrophe Living finds me meditating for 45 minutes one day and doing 45 minutes of a planned gentle yoga sequence the next.

45 minutes sitting still and being aware of my body and breath vs 45 minutes gentle mindful yoga. The past 3 years I have regularly done more than 45 minutes yoga every day but I have never meditated for longer than 25 minutes. Can you guess which one I’m having trouble with?

Surprisingly it’s the yoga! My stubborn body knows these moves and it wants to go faster, stretch more, do more exciting things! The most strenuous pose is probably vrksasana (tree pose) which is a pose I do after headstands or arm balances to calm myself down. Even keeping my bottom leg bent in a lying hamstring stretch is annoyingly gentle, does Jon Kabat-Zinn not know I can do the splits?!? Oh how these puny poses hurt my mightily ‘advanced’ yogi ego!

So I’ve found myself actually getting quite down during this sequence. Bored. Dull. Sad. It’s become an exercise in how to make myself depressed. I am committed to this programme though so I feel the feelings and I do it anyway. I feel the slight reluctance when it comes to do the sequence and I think “it’s just a feeling”. It’s not the most ideal sequence for my body but so what? I have my whole life to do my yoga.

The meditation has been wonderful. I was terrified of sitting for so long and the first time my leg did go completely dead but it’ll be worth it. I’ll prop my knees up more. Yesterday I found myself going into such an aware, unreactive state. I felt like I was sitting watching myself, smiling gently. Strange how people say meditation makes them go outside themselves, because I felt more inside myself. I know I cannot cling to this feeling, I have to accept each sitting as I come to it but it was so good. The feeling, the awareness lasted for at least an hour afterwards. I coped better with my parents stressing over unimportant things, things seemed more vital and real. My advent calender chocolate tasted fantastic! (or maybe I was just really hungry) All from concentrating on my breath and body sensations for 45 minutes.

So I took that idea and I applied it to the yoga. I really felt my breath in my body in all the poses. I was less sad this time. Breath is the key.


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