We walk away from a yoga or meditation practice feeling refreshed, energized and calmer in body, mind and spirit. Any one practice might reveal insights, give peace to a troubled heart or bring us back to our center to help us move forward in our day.
But sometimes the true benefits of a yoga or meditation practice don’t show up right away. They show up later when life presents challenge. As one of my students recently shared “it is only in yoga that I feel truly pain free” as she completed a yoga nidra class in the midst of recovering from an accident. Another student, going through cancer treatment, shared with me that she surprised her doctor when she showed how truly flexible and strong her body was. And another, a doc himself, shared with me recently that his meditation practice gave him greater awareness of how important it was and when he needed to take a break to bring himself back to center so that he could serve his patients in the ER better.
As some of you know, in addition to my yoga teaching, running the PRACTICE studio and hosting my annual meditation retreat at the Borestone Mountain Sanctuary in Maine, I also consult in communications and development services for non-profits. I recently started working with an organization called Chewonki, an environmental education center on the coast of Maine. I have a very full schedule these days. And in that fullness, I am more aware than ever that it is my practice over the years that is now bearing fruit in very specific and helpful ways. I recognize at work that I know well how to exert effort and then to pause and rest before the next “posture” or focused task. That practice allows me to move through a busy day being ready and present for each next task. I am a better listener and can remain present through challenging moments better than I ever could before. I am more compassionate with both co-workers and situations. I am in my body and know that movement and breath help me think and respond better. I am more resilient. Every day, I am aware that it is my practice of yoga and meditation that has given me these gifts. And the gifts have only been revealed because of the challenge of balancing the demands.
Every practice leaves me feeling refreshed and knowing that I am whole. But it is only now, in the midst of this challenging new schedule, that I am reminded on a daily basis of the depth of the benefits to my life and work. And I am grateful!
I would love to hear from you where you are discovering the benefits of yoga and meditation in your life. Please feel free to share!