April 25, 2013

How Yoga Made Me Stop Running.

As I climb on the treadmill today the familiar-faced gentlemen beside me says, “Hi Dani! You’re still running?”

He looked surprised to see my yoga bum at the YMCA. Well, I’m standing on a treadmill with my worn out sneakers, so he is obviously referring to something else…I think to myself, what has happened to me! I used to be a “Runner.” Has yoga affected my ability to run?

Yes, and it has affected my ability to flee.

For most of my life, my water-like persona has been to run from one endeavor to the next. Shape shifting into what “I thought” everyone else wanted from me. It is much easier to shy away from ourselves than to face the truth. We are all running from something at sometime or another on this path, and quite frankly running is exhausting, and can never satisfy the soul. In the words of Carbon Leaf, “it takes the courage of a lamb to run, the fierceness of a storm to love.”

I used to think that to love was to be weak…weak in the knees, weak-willed, weak-stomached, with the floating butterflies.

I would like to thank Walt Disney for the role model of the female princess, so soft and feminine that a bird will land on her finger as she sings in her angel like voice. I still get so excited when the little squirrel that visits my front porch for the few walnuts I leave, comes to visit me, just so I can imagine I have that certain grace, and nurturing, goddess energy, that animals flock to for comfort and companionship. And thank you even more for the thought that I am the type that falls all over herself, and into the arms of the man, whom without, I would be incomplete.

Many times we end up searching outside of ourselves for everyone and everything to give our power to. It takes incredible strength to own our power, be fully ourselves, and a constant awareness that we are not falling back into those habitual thought patterns that our society, and Walt, have left impressed into our subconscious. Through my yoga practice I have found my core beliefs and strength, and it is earth shaking to finally realize this that is inherently ours.

If there are two things I want my daughters to learn from my parenting, or anyone else in life, it is that they are powerful and loved beyond what they could ever imagine.

Rumi sends a much more positive message to our soul that I’ve witnessed through the practice of yoga:

”The minute I heard my first love story I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.”

It takes courage to be a vessel for this type of love. If we stop running… what happens when we stay?

When we stay in a difficult yoga pose, the sensations change and transform, but only if you are honest and aware of what you are feeling. In order to stay you have to be fully in touch with your emotions, even if they are socially unacceptable or unpopular. This is the most difficult part when you are a recovering people-pleaser like myself. Really feel what you are feeling. How often do we do this? We are usually too busy or the timing is not right to acknowledge what we feel, or we let our judging mind determine whether it is a good or bad to feel this way. Just stop, and really feel what you are feeling today.

It may not be popular, and it will most likely be uncomfortable, but it is the truth. To try to reason with our emotions is the biggest way to flee from our lives, as you take a back seat to your mind and emotions playing a game of tug of war. This can become a continuous inner struggle unless we let go of the rope, feel what we are feeling, and then move on purpose with purpose.

“Reason is like an officer when the king appears. The officer then loses his power and hides himself. Reason is the shadow cast by God; Go is the sun.” ~ Rumi

When Walt thaws out, I would like to see him write a story about the Princess that saves herself.

The man on the other treadmill noticed the confusion in my face waiting patiently as I reply “no, I am not still running” turn on my treadmill, put my earbuds in place, and exhaust myself for the next three miles.



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Ed: Kate Bartolotta

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