JEN’S JOURNEY: USING MY BODY TO TRAIN MY MIND

April 20, 2015

I’m staring at my feet.  I’ve been staring at my feet for the last two minutes, trying not to distract myself.  My feet are planted into my vibrant purple yoga mat.  My knees are bent just a little, and my upper body is flopped over, my arms hanging down by my feet.

Context starts to creep in: wow, I really need a pedicure.  How long have I been in this pose? Sounds like that baby outside is pretty unhappy…

No.  I give my head a teeny shake to empty my mind of chatter. I focus on the exquisite sensation in the back of my legs. Breathe in: focus on tension.  Breathe out: let tension go.  I repeat this breathing pattern until I feel the rigidity in my hamstrings start to slacken. Ahhh.  But I still need a pedicure.

Becoming a yoga instructor was not something I thought would ever happen, but here I am, three days into Yin training, learning the (y)ins and outs of poses such as Rag Doll, Hero, and Smiling Cow Face (yes, seriously).

smiling_cow

“This grass is udderly delightful”

 

Why am I here?  The first time I tried Yin yoga was during my first foray into running, and my hips were tighter than the lid of a pickle jar.  I sought relief from the discomfort in my body.  Now, almost ten years later, I seek relief from the discomfort in my mind.

Like many people I know, I’ve gotten used to being distracted by the context – while driving to work I seek distraction from the radio.  While waiting for anything (even sometimes a pot of water to boil) I seek distraction in my phone, with texting, emails, or social media.

I’ve forgotten how to focus on what my Instructor calls The Essence.

When we allow our minds to focus inward, we are able to listen to the language our body is speaking to us.  A tight muscle here, a wayward emotion there, maybe even a genius idea budding in the corner of our mind.  If we are constantly entertaining ourselves with outside noise, we miss all of the wonderful things our insides are trying to tell us.

So I’m feeling the feelings.  Tension is melting away at the base of my neck as my head hangs upside down.  My chest and stomach feel wonderfully heavy against my thighs now, when at minute one my hips resisted that position.  Breathe in: focus on tension.  Breathe out: let tension go.

Will I ever be able to be fully mindful and poised? I have my doubts.  But I’m open to learning.  In the meantime, I’m using my body to train my mind, and I’m open to possibility.

The journey continues.

Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

Jen