Welcome to Tracey Fritz, my first guest blogger. Tracey is excited to be teaching at this new studio in Lexington Park, MD (a dedicated yoga studio!).
Check it out at http://www.evolveyogawellness.com.
She believes her teaching and home practice deepened with the training, but also with simple everyday contact with yoga teachers, practitioners and friends.
Yoga helps her maintain balance with her “real” job as a software developer on base. She credits yoga and meditation with helping her become a better mom and wife to her kids, Liam and Adara, and her husband, Rob. Tracey is 7th from left in this photo.
Here’s her piece about staying present…
“Yoga teaches us we don’t need comfort to be at ease.”
Sometimes I am uncomfortable in the present moment. My yoga practice is helping me become comfortable more of the time, and I thought I’d share that process.
At the Evolve yoga studio, my yoga teacher Ann puts us in poses for long enough that my muscles begin to burn. She encourages us to be aware of our discomfort and stay there long enough to determine if we can remain, without injury, in discomfort and still find ease.
In the mini-meditation she guides us through at the beginning of class, she brings our attention to our habitual responses and suggest we have the choice to respond in another way.
In the pose
In the pose, I feel the pain and my reaction is “Ow! I hate this. When is she going to take us out of this pose? I need to get out, but I don’t want to be a wimp.
I’ve been practicing yoga for seven years, I should be able to handle this. I’m a yoga teacher, I have to look better than the others.
I don’t want to look weak in front of the rest of the class. I did this last week for longer, I should be able to do it tonight.” My teacher encourages us to experience what we are feeling.
For me, that means setting aside the ranting, which is actually serving to distract me from the pain. So now I feel the pain.
Breathing into discomfort
I breathe into the discomfort without benefit of distraction. So this is what it feels like. Isn’t that interesting? I’ve always ranted so as not to feel the pain. And now I feel it.
It isn’t so bad.
It is uncomfortable.
But I can stay here a little longer. I’m not going to injure myself.
I feel tension creeping into my shoulders, my jaw clamping down, as if that tension can help me hold the pose longer.
Turns out it is just offering another distraction from the pain, because when I relax my shoulders and release my jaw, the full sensation of pain floods back into my thigh and fills my senses.
Yet I can be at ease.
I am very uncomfortable. I may need to straighten my leg at any moment, but I am at ease. I am breathing.
When we release the pose, I do not feel a rush of “Thank GOD, I was about to die!!”
Instead, I feel the discomfort of establishing neutral. I feel a calm peace wash through me as I breathe more easily. A very calm voice inside says “You did it.” And I know not only did I do the hard pose, but I was present the whole time.
Acknowledging the present moment
The present moment is rarely dramatic for me. In fact, it is often very ordinary.
But when I stay present, I find depth in the moment that I never suspected. I find a peace and a subtle joy. So when I feel uncomfortable in a situation, I recall that I can breathe and be at ease even with some discomfort. And then I feel more comfortable.
Ann Hunt just opened the Evolve Yoga + Wellness studio in California, MD on Thanksgiving, 2010. She is eternally grateful to her friends and family in the yoga community, for friendship, love, and acceptance. http://www.evolveyogawellness.com
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