Friday, February 24, 2012

"Find Your Way Home"

It's Yoga.

Nothing I would have ever given a second glance, in my younger days.
It sounded crazy and weird to me.
It appeared to have NO real "umph" to it.

Post-Cancer, I think differently.
I feel differently.
My body is different, not just from chemo, but from age.

I have always enjoyed exercise, but only the vigorous kind.
I still want to exercise as much as possible.
There are a lot more reasons to do so now.
When I was diagnosed 4 yrs ago, my chances for survival went up significantly because of exercise that I had done regularly for almost 30 years. Hurray for exercise!

Today marks the 4 yr mark for the day that I found a rather large lump that turned out 2 weeks later to be cancer.

About 6 months ago, I was invited to try a yoga class. I had/have a lot of respect and admiration for the teacher. I wanted to try it.

WOW, what I have learned is unbelievable to me.

"Find your way home" is just one of the many things that the instructor says during our class.
This exercise is so much more than just movement of the body.
Someone LONG before me figured this out.

I have discovered strength in a way I have never seen in myself before.

First off, the positions, though slow in movement, are sometimes quite difficult for my muscles to maintain. I, on occasion, break a sweat. Something I did NOT expect to ever happen.
I feel my muscles trembling with effort. I KNOW they have to be getting stronger by doing this.

Ironically though, that is not my favorite part of the class; just an extra benefit.

What I love the most is what is going on in my head while we are working through the exercises.
The terms and the words the instructor uses bring "MINDFULNESS" to me.
Mindfulness is an ancient practice that I have discovered in my cancer support groups. History shows a lot of healing that can take place, both physically and mentally when we are mindful.
In my past life, I was too busy to be mindful.

But now, I am not too busy anymore.
I am listening more and I hear things like, "Find your way home".
She is talking about our position of standing with our hands pressed together next to our "heart center". It is a passive stance, but our mind becomes aware of our "heart center", something that we refer to often. All that is good radiates from this "center".

She reminds us to "anchor" our feet deep into the earth to give us a strong foundation.
One of the stances is "exalted warrior". We stand with our hands in a worshipful position toward heaven, with our legs in a position that is ready to fight.
I felt tears welling up inside me one day while doing that. I truly felt that I DESIRE to "be" an exalted warrior for the Lord.

Who knew I could feel spiritual during an exercise class? Who knew I could have positive uplifting thoughts about life and myself at 6:30 am?

At the end of class, we take about 10 minutes to have a rest time, a very welcomed one. We lay perfectly still. This is called Shavasana. (spelling unknown)
While I was laying there during my last class, I felt the instructor move around the room (she puts eye bags over our eyes to help relax us.) I thought we were on a concrete floor and was surprised that I could feel movement by her tiny body walking around. Then I realized that even though we were in the basement level of the building, and we were indeed on a concrete floor, there was one more level beneath us; the parking garage.
Because of the "Mindfulness" that I was experiencing, my mind told me this:
"We all need to have a STRONG foundation like this concrete floor we are on, we must be strong in all we do, and YET we must also have a little give in us, a little bit of FLEXIBILITY, just like this floor that I was laying on.


That was a profound moment for me because in my PRE -CANCER days, I was anything but flexible most of the time.

I think that Heaven talks to me during yoga.

There are a lot more words that are spoken during the class that I love, but I never have a pen and paper next to me to write them down.

If you participate in yoga and have noticed some, share them with me and tell me how they have affected your life for good.
I want to make sure to get the most I can out of this class, (it is a pretty price that I pay to attend)

I want to spend the rest of my life "Finding my way heaven"