Yoga and the Art of Being Zen

This afternoon, some thoughts on stress. On how we let it seep in and undermine our calm. On how important it is to take a break, as often as possible, from the speed of reality.

My morning provided me with a perfect example of what I’m taking about.

At long (long) last, I made it back to a yoga class today.

I hate to say how long it’s been, so I won’t. But allow me a moment to congratulate myself.

Yay me.

The class, always my favourite, is a 9:30 – 11 am yin/yang class. I’ve written about it before.  Today, it was led by a man, Kyle, who is temporarily back in Canada from Tel Aviv.

It was exactly what I needed.

First of all, it was more esoteric than usual, without being Kundalini-esoteric. Maybe I’m not yogic enough, or too Western, or both, but Kundalini is just too much for me.

Kyle’s class got me breathing properly, brought me inside myself, and was just meditative enough while still leaving me focused on what I was doing.

I’m not going to go into the full details of the class, but suffice it to say that when I emerged, I really was calm, floating and on a different plain. The way post-yoga is supposed to feel. Maybe even better.

I paused on my way to the leafy common room at the yoga centre to check my phone messages (why, you may ask? Yeah. Why?). My mind was on having a cup of tea in the calm, vine-enrobbed room while a blizzard raged out on the street. It was not really focused or prepared for whatever it was the messages might say.

It wasn’t until I was about halfway through my husband’s message about the window installers who are now coming Wednesday – this Wednesday – and all the things we have to do before then, and the unexpectedness of our need to…. Yep, it was about there that I realized just how cruel it was to shock my zen-trance with the real world.

In a bit of a daze (I may have been slack-jawed), I pulled the phone away from my ear and touched “end call.”

The window installers are coming Wednesday. It’s Monday. I think I can allow my brain to slowly return to the non-yoga world before I assault it with reality, I thought. Ok, maybe I didn’t think that then, it might have taken some time to get there. In the moment, I probably thought something more along the lines of, “this is ruining my vibe, man.”

And so, trying to regain some of the lost zen, I continued on my path toward the tea and vines.

I sat there and philosophized with Kyle while the snow and ice blew in horizontal sheets outside the window and pedestrians seemed to be carried away, Dorothy-style.

After what I judged was the right amount of time, I listened to my husband’s message properly. Not so bad.

It took me a bit more time, enough for me to walk home (the blizzard had thankfully abated) before I could consider the impending window operation with a calm and positive mind.

It’s ok.

No need to panic.

We will be busy but we can do this.

I’m here during the day.

No problem.

It will be great to have new windows.

Granted, I can still feel my ab muscles clenching just a bit. And my teeth. But my brain is no longer in fight or flight mode.

Isn’t it remarkable the state in which reality keeps us, how much mindfulness it takes to calm down, and how quickly it can all be sidelined?

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