Dangerous calm

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Most people when they think of yoga picture meditation, breathing, and chanting “OM”. It is the picture of peacefulness and calm. Nothing dangerous or risky about it.

 

And it can be.

 

But yoga can be risky, dangerous, and make face your fears.

 

How you might ask?

 

There is a risk of falling on your face, literally. (And by the use of the word literally I mean it. If you fall on your face in yoga the rest of your body lands on your face. If it gets recorded you not only risk physical injury but emotional injury because you could be on an episode of MTVs Ridiculousness.)

 

For years I avoided the more challenging yoga poses. But one day I picked up a book that explains the anatomy of the body in a yoga pose. Of course I haven’t read the whole book but I looked at a lot of the pictures and found inspiration, I wanted to do a headstand and some of those poses where you support your body on your arms.

 

Those poses not only look cool but they are also a little dangerous. In order to do these poses you have to be able to focus all of your energy and attention on the task at hand. You have to be willing to face the fear of falling and go for it anyway.

 

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How’s your spiritual health?

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Let’s go to the gym and get our sweat on.

 

The cool thing about working out is tangible results. If you have a goal to trim your waist, you will notice a difference when you slide into that pair of skinny jeans. If you have a goal to run faster, the time on the clock will show faster mile splits.  If you have a goal to lift more weight, when you place five more pounds on the bar and lift, you’ve done it.

 

Physical fitness is just one of the part of being a healthy person. It is also the easiest to measure.

 

When we start talking about the more fuzzy things like spiritual fitness most of us have no idea where to start. There isn’t a gym membership for spiritual health. It is also something that you can’t easily quantify. How do you measure if you spiritual health? How do you define if you have more meaning and purpose in your life?

 

Some people think of church and religion when they hear the word spirituality. For me spirituality is something that falls outside of the scope of church and religion. I’ve never been much of a churchgoer and I’ve never followed any religion, however I’ve studied several of the world’s religions. Now I try to incorporate aspects of different religions into my life.

 

In many ways I still don’t know how to “work out” to get stronger with my spiritual fitness. But I do understand what things make me feel more spiritual and connected to the world and the people around me.

 

Running, surfing, and yoga.

 

These do much more than just help me strengthen my cardio and get toned. When I run, surf, or do yoga I feel more connected to the world around me. In a pose, riding a wave, and finding my stride I have moments where I focus so intently on what I am doing, the rest of the world dissolves.

 

Those meditative moments of being rooted in the present are few and far between. But in those moments where I am in the flow, the world is perfect. In those moments I reach a state of peace and perfection. I also strengthen more than my body, I strengthen my heart, my mind, and my soul.

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The funk is lifting

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Everyday my knee feels stronger, not completely pain free but definitely stronger. I realize I am at a point where I can either find a way to work with my pain or I sideline myself from the things I love to do.

 

To lift the funk and test the knee it is time to push my limits and try some new things.

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Since my injury I returned to yoga. My practice is solid and steady. But I wanted more. It started with picking up a book about Yoga and anatomy. Then it turned to me looking at pictures of poses thinking to myself, hey I can do that. With a little help from Youtube, I ventured into a new pose and my garage, literally. (Make sure the wall you use to support yourself when trying a headstand is not a door that opens to the garage.)

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For me Yoga is a very personal practice, I rarely do Yoga in a classroom setting, but this time I decided to do it in the mall. Athleta was offering a free Yoga class (free except for the running pants and new swimsuit bottom I picked up after the class) with Yogi Dawn Souza. I tried it and it was great breaking free from my normal routine and doing something different.

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My final funk lifting move was getting back out in the water. Not being in the water has been plaguing me for quite some time. In order to surf again I have to learn a new stance, which I am okay with. But because it is winter here in lovely Rhode Island the water is cold and learning something new means a lot of falling. Today was a mild winter day and the water was flat, so I took the SUP out for a short paddle. Yes I did fall in the water, yes I did have a tough time figuring out which foot would step back if I did catch a wave, and yes I did get a micro ride into shore.

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This isn’t big stuff, but it finally feels like I am moving forward and the funk is lifting.