Sep 26 2013
“The path to our destination is not always a straight one. We go down the wrong road, we get lost, we turn back. Maybe it doesn't matter which road we embark on.
Maybe what matters is that we embark.” â€• Barbara Hall
What do yoga therapy and the Canadian sport of curling have in common? At first glance, curling looks a lot like shuffleboard on ice. (Whereas yoga looks like synchronized swimming on dry land?!) But it inspires great loyalty among true fans because of the intention, teamwork, and careful observation it requires. One teammate pushes a stone across the ice towards a goal, appropriately named the HOUSE. Two other teammates skillfully stay off to the side but slightly in front of the stone, sweeping the ice to guide it as close to the house as possible. Players can speed up or slow down a stone, or curl it toward the house by carefully observing the ice, and by carefully working with teammates. When all teammates work together as one, it gets where it needs to go. It’s all about teamwork, about setting an intention, and finding the ideal path home!
Yoga is really all about intention and the amount of time and energy spent deepening the practice. It’s never too early or too late to start. Once you bravely step on the yoga mat for the first time, you propel yourself forward towards a healthier mind and body. We confront our own projections, doubts and fears on the mat. But we strengthen our self-compassion, stress tolerance, and commitment to our own well-being. I, as a yoga therapist, can offer guidance and encouragement by helping with alignment and appropriate poses for one’s health condition. But I cannot do the practice for the yogi/yogini. That is something only the person can do for him or herself.
Even in yoga, we are all on the same team. We’re all helping move each other home. But in our busy lives, sometimes doing it for the other person or not doing anything at all seems to be the ‘easy way out’ – a way of avoiding our own way home. But if we are indeed on the same team (Team Earth!), then let us take a look at how a little extra effort to our own self-care propels the entire team in the right direction.
This is really just a continuation of August’s newsletter theme of “paying it forward”. But instead of putting that energy outwards, why not take a few extra minutes each day to set an intention, do a few yoga stretches and practice mindfulness meditation? Research shows clearly that even a 15 minute daily practice can increase GABA and dopamine levels and decrease depressive and anxious symptoms.
While curling is a competitive sport, yoga is not. With yoga, we can dance safely on our edge and deepen our practice knowing that its less about winning a medal and more about winning a healthier body, a calmer mind, and a more joyful heart.
That’s quite the win-win, eh?