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Dear Diary: Centered City Yoga. Week #2. Mindfulness

August 8, 2009

yoga_10

Place: Centered City Yoga

Location: 918 E. 900 S. Salt Lake City, Utah (801) 521-yoga (9642)

Well folks, this time we stopped into a yoga gym called Centered City Yoga (Best of the Beehive 2009 winner) in Sugar House to do our well loved “Dear Diary” segment.  Some of you may be wondering, “Well heck, why yoga?  That’s dumb.  Cancha do somethin’ cool like mud wrestlin’ or beer can smashin’?  What’s s’great bout yoga?”  Oh just this: “Attaining enlightenment and liberation can be achieved through classic practices of meditation and yoga.  Research findings indicate that they are the most widely used of all therapies.  They have been shown to reduce anxiety, specific phobias, substance abuse; to benefit those with medical problems by reducing blood pressure and aiding in the management of chronic pain and so on; to enhance self-confidence, sense of control, marital satisfaction, and to extend longevity (Sue, 2003).”  Bam!  Good enough reason for ya?  That’s why!  In your face!

Jesse:  Week #2

I attended a class taught by Erin called Pranayama/Meditation.  I did not know what to expect when I entered the room.  Erin was kind enough to inform us about the class before we actually started.  This class is entirely devoted to the most important part of yoga that many people, like me, forget-breathing.  She was very knowledgeable about the history of yoga and explained that there are 8 branches. Instead of having to do with flexibility or strength, most of the branches involve different ways to breathe.  I never knew how important breathing was for yoga or the significant role it plays in each of our lives, until I went to Centered City Yoga.  I feel enlightened for taking a class that focused primarily on this aspect and felt like it has helped me to become more aware of breathing while I take Power or Core classes.  Erin instilled a desire in me to research Yoga more extensively.  There is so much history and so many different styles of Yoga.  I feel privileged to be able to experience what I have experienced so far.

yoga_07I attended Power 1 which was being substituted by D’ana Baptiste; owner of Centered City Yoga.  I LOVED this class.  I really learned how to open up my entire body by focusing on my breathing.  I felt my body bend more than ever just by focusing on my breathing rather than the pain or “sensation” I felt while stretching.  She emphasized really breathing into each different part of the body.  It is amazing how many different ways you can feel your body being influenced by where you are focusing your breath, (like the lower back or the hips.)  It is hard to explain unless you are actually experiencing it for yourself.  She did such a good job of explaining each move.  I realized after this class where my weak points are.  My hips are by far the least flexible, but I can feel just how beneficial this one class was for them.  I love how Yoga makes you more aware of how your body was made and what sides of your body are uneven.  I believe that is why doctors recommend Yoga.  People who do Yoga are forced to stretch and equalize the body.

The more I go to yoga, the more I want everybody to know how important it is, and I want everybody to go and experience the benefits.  One well respected, world leader once said, “The world is too noisy.  We need to ponder and meditate and contemplate the deeper things of life.  We wear ourselves out in life’s pursuits.  Spend time in nature where you can think and breathe deeply and feel the earth where you can listen to the sounds of the ocean or the woods or the mountains (Gordan B. Hinckley, Be Still).”yoga_08

Dana explained how your mind could be anywhere in the world at any point of the day, but Yoga forces you to be in your body. What an important concept!  That seems so simple, but is so disregarded in today’s hectic world.

Noel: Week #2

It goes without saying… I’ll say it anyway; the more you practice something the better you are at it and the easier it becomes.  I’m not a flexible guy but the more I do yoga and stretch out and such, the more I’m able to stretch out.  There’s even a huge difference from the start of class to the end of class.  But that’s the thing; it’s not about being the most flexible, the one with the best balance, or the strongest; with yoga at Centered City it seems to be a more personal thing.  If you can breathe, you can do yoga.  And you do it at the level you feel good with.  Who knows how you feel better than you?  So I may never be able to touch the bottom of my foot to the back of my head.  Big deal!  I do what I do.  I push myself and I definitely break a sweat (bring a towel) but the foot to the back of the head thing may never happen.  I’m okay with that.

yoga_09This week at yoga I began to realize more and more that this is far more of a holistic dance than I first realized.  The mind is harnessed right from the go.  You become present and aware of yourself.  The teachers are excellent at helping to establish this mindset for the rest of the yoga practice.  Mindfulness is the difference between yoga and a lot of other exercises.  And if you don’t think the mind is a powerful tool in your exercise, think of the last time you conjured up some great excuses to get out of exercising.

If you need more inspiration consider the story of the 135 mile Badwater Ultramarathon across Death Valley in July and Scott Jurek:  Scott Jurek is one of the best ultramarathon runners of all time.  But up until Badwater he’d been a trail runner, running in the mountains.  Growing up in Minnesota and later living in Seattle hadn’t prepared him for Death Valley in July, temperatures up to 130 degrees.  The story goes as follows:  By mile 60, Scott was vomiting and shaky.  His hands dropped to his knees, then his knees dropped to the pavement.  He collapsed by the side of the road, lying in his own sweat and spittle.scott-jurek2

Scott lay there, thinking about how hopeless it all was.  He wasn’t even halfway done…  And the wind!  It was like running into the blast of a jet engine.  A couple of miles back, Scott had tried to cool off by sinking his entire head and torso into a giant cooler full of ice and holding himself underwater until his lungs were screaming.  As soon as he got out, he was roasting again.

There’s no way, Scott told himself.  You’re done.  You’d have to do something totally sick to win this thing now.

Sick like what?

Like starting over again.  Like pretending you just woke up from a great night’s sleep and the race hasn’t even started yet.  You’d have to run the next 80 miles as fast as you’ve ever run 80 miles in your life.

For ten minutes, Scott lay like a corpse.  Then he got up and did it, shattering the Badwater record with a time of 24:36 (Christopher McDougall, Born to Run).

Mindfulness!

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