Today, I've got several things I want to write about, so I'm going to try my best to organize them.
First, the practical. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I go to a Zumba class with a great friend. I love this class - it's high energy, high impact, and makes me sweat buckets. I am starting to see though, that Tuesdays and Thursdays are not my best yoga days. By the time I get around to yoga, I'm tight and tense. I'm not sure what I think about this. Zumba is great for my body, and I think it's doing good things for me in the cardio department. But I don't like that it tightens me up. Maybe I need to come home and stretch more, or walk into the gym after and stretch there. I definitely can't do yoga right after. I'm way too worn out for that. So that's something I'll be mulling over in the near future, and working on.
Second, the practice. I am still feeling under the weather today, even though I did manage to make it through Zumba this morning. I remembered an article in Natural Health about Yoga for specific ailments, so I went and dug it up. I did the routine for headache relief, and it was wonderful. It didn't involve a lot of movement, so I started with sun salutations on my own, then transitioned into this routine. It mostly focused on expanding the chest and focusing on breathing, based on the premise that headaches are often caused by short, shallow breathing. My spine feels longer now, my neck more relaxed, and my headache has lessened.
Third, the philosophy. Today's "Meditation from the Mat" talked about the shift in perception that must occur before you can reach the renunciation phase of yoga. It says, "The furniture of our life gets moved, and we are forced to pay attention... We look at our friends, our habits, our choices, and see them all in a new light, as our old assumptions fall away... When we are ready to let go, we will do so with relief." This was a powerful passage for me. I can relate it to so many things in my life.
I can specifically remember feeling relieved when I finally made the decision to go vegetarian. My perception had shifted, and that shift had caused unhappy feelings before I made the change. Making the change, and letting the unhappy feelings fall away felt freeing. So many people think that being a vegetarian is about restrictions and rigid guidelines. But I feel the opposite away completely, and this passage helped me to put that into perspective.
I think my perception is shifting again. I'm looking at the things I encounter every day, and often participate in, and realizing that they are not enjoyable, and not conducive to the way I want to live. I made a decision this week to let some things go, to take a step in the opposite direction, and already I feel relieved by doing so. Some changes can be made with a simple decision. This is not one of them. So it will take time and effort, and I think practicing yoga daily will help me achieve the results I want.