Be Well Be Happy

Yesterday morning while guiding a yoga class in a room not quite humidity-free, I found some in front of me struggling while moving through the heat. It wasn’t a heated yoga class, and we never have a cold room, just comfortable. Yesterday morning it was not. It was taking a long time to come to a comfortable temperature.  I reminded them to come to the breath to get through the difficulty – physically, mentally, emotionally. 

Awareness of the act of breathing, to me, the art of breathing, making it deeper, fuller, longer during both the inhales and the exhales mentally diverts the attention from the struggle to a centering place. Emotionally, it is calming.

Then, I thought of my Dad.  We would say to him in the dead of winter, “Put a hat and gloves on.”  He would say, “I tell myself that I’m warm and I’m warm.”  Same for being cool. The remembrance of course to me was special because he continues to be present in my life sporadically and in different ways, and when it occurs, it is now a feeling of joy having had those experiences with him.  He is no longer here, but continues to live on in this way.

The profound lesson from his being warm and cool in freezing weather and humid conditions is that we have the mind strength to derail a potentially hazardous condition by “thinking” it away.  Divert the attention from the uncomfortable condition.  Divert it to any other condition, just not the one that is uncomfortable.  Before it gets out of hand, i.e., before it gets the better of us. That is, in a way, what we do in the yoga room:  we focus. We focus on positive affirmations, centering breath and physical movement, which allows the body’s energy to circulate and revitalize. We don’t get derailed by outside conditions.  Our minds guide us to be free in the capacity of being present.

When I think about what some people have had to endure, I can only imagine that it has to be the power of their minds that got them through. Strength, ability, energy. Rising up to strength rather than sinking down to instability and weakness.  Having an “I can” attitude rather than “I am not able.” “I can” is such a strong affirmation. That takes some power. We’re thinking all of the time. What is the difference? The difference is the affirmation: “I am not going to let this get the better of me in this moment in time.”  Some reactions are habitual, so it is essential to give space to stop and think rather than revert to the habitual reaction. The power of the mind. Thoughtful contemplation. 

What made me think of all of this? A humid room during a yoga class. That in itself is magical. Every experience is a springboard for thought, contemplation, feeling, sharing. 

May you be happy.  May you be free.  May you be grateful.  May you let go of things that do not serve you.  May you have inner peace. 

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