If I could walk outside every day in the woods, I would. But when you throw in the seasons and eliminate days of driving snow and sweltering heat…sometimes we need somewhere else to walk.
I’ve rediscovered an indoor track in my area and have made it two times in the last two weeks. I know that doesn’t exactly constitute a habit (yet) but I’m working on it. And there’s lots of winter on the way.
As I lapped around the astroturf track without a podcast or music track in my head – just my own thoughts – I briefly wondered if this was perhaps a boring, repetitive way to keep fit. But I quickly pushed that thought aside when I realized how much great thinking is accomplished walking around and around.
I’ve been waking up lately with those nasty middle of the night to-do lists in my head. You know the ones that are mostly fictional? But as I lapped around in lane 1 everything was so much clearer. The to-do list was gone. I could think about anything or nothing. Head – cleared. Body – moved.
When the weather fits, I’ll walk it off outdoors, but I’m also reenergized about keeping it up whatever the weather.
I took a summer vacation from the Wednesday night yoga class I’ve been doing for more than 15 years. Apparently, I’m a creature of yoga habit. It was a little freeing at first, giving me a night off. Then it wasn’t.
My Friday favourite is that this week, I got back on the mat with a regular yoga class here.
I think there is a fine balance between getting out there to move whether it’s walking, on a bike or hiking up a mountain…and pausing along the way to take it all in. There’s gotta be good stuff along the way and not just the endorphin high or fit bit count at the end.
I got my bike out for the second time only this year. I had done a ride with my trainer for one of our weekly sessions, and wanted to try and keep the momentum going. When I head out, I’m often already thinking about getting back home. Does anybody else’s mind go there?:-)
So as I pushed down on the pedal the first few times, I thought about trying to enjoy the time on the trail, noticing what I was riding by, saying hello to people I passed by. And not just racing to get it over with.
It worked. So I tried it again on the weekend with a paddle down the river. I’m not in quite the same hurry in a kayak, as on my bike, but I often think “okay, you have an hour…paddle to the bridge and a little farther, then turn around and get back.”
But this time, I tried to find the perfect place between effort and ease.
I spend most of the day on Tuesday coming up with reasons why I don’t need to go to yoga on Tuesday night. It’s dark, it’s raining, I’m tired…the list goes on. When I finally drag myself to class I am rewarded with the incredible feeling yoga provides.
I was reading a blog I follow today called Lines of Beauty and she had a wonderful quote by Rachel Brathen called The Goal of Yoga. I am copying it word for word!
The yoga pose is not the goal. Becoming flexible is not the goal. The goal is to create space where you once were stuck. To unveil the layers of protection you’ve built around your heart. To appreciate your body and become aware of the mind and the noise it creates. To make peace with who you are. The goal is to love, well…you.
Come to your yoga mat to feel; not to accomplish. Shift your focus and your heart will grow.
Adult colouring books were hot items on this past holiday season gotta have gift list.
I have seen the computer-generated flowers and intricate designs that are supposed to be as good for you as yoga. They don’t really do it for me – kind of sterile and predictable.
But it was the one my brother got at Christmas that just might have got the meditative colouring hook in me.
Fantastic Cities is a beautifully sketched book of cities all around the world by Ontario artist Steve McDonald . I watched my brother go zen-like with his row of perfectly sharpened pencils as he filled in architectural details of rooftops in Germany and windowsills in Manhattan. He even humoured me, taking a break and letting me have a go when his fingers got tired.
At first, colouring within the lines felt like cheating or regressing from the sketching I’ve been doing over the last year or two where I actually have to draw and paint the images I create. But there I was, happily lost in the repetitive motion. As I held my nose to the page to differentiate fine details in the sketch, I realized I was also learning more about the art of sketching. The proportions, the angles and the layering.
I’ve started a sketch-a-day “challenge” for myself in 2016. And now, I’m waiting for Amazon to deliver my new set of pencils and my very own copy of Fantastic Cities.
Between colouring, sketching and weekly yoga, the mellowness may be overwhelming.