Today, I add yoga to the list.
Once again, the physical exercise took a back seat to the mental benefits associated with it. At first, I felt awkward. A little "granola", to be honest. After returning home from work and getting settled, I turned down the lights low in my bedroom, sat cross-legged and allowed myself a few moments to sink deep within to reflect upon a long week. A trying week. A week filled with conflicting thoughts and emotions. Then, I let out a few heavy "ohm" chants, carefully monitoring my breath pattern to dispense of every last ounce of stress.
Within minutes, I was relaxed, focused and completely centered. I'm still surprised at how easy it was to find my metaphysical core. Why do we stray so far from ourselves so unnecessarily? Previously, to reach a zen-like state, I believed you needed a yoga studio complete with sitar music, Buddha statues, lots of props and of course other people. This was different. Quiet. Peaceful. Solitary. And completely self-contained. I found it easier to remove any semblance of self-consciousness or ego and instead could truly focus on my breathing. There was nobody to compare myself to, or worry about when the instructor was going to come by and make an adjustment.
I was both student and instructor. Patient and doctor.
Granted, this was only a 30-minute session. I mostly focused on sun salutes, downward dog, cobra, plank, warrior and pigeon poses, followed by some foam-core rolling at the end.
The result was a sense of wholeness and rejuvenation unlike I've experienced heading into a weekend in quite a long time. I set my intention for the week to more fully accept the hurt and loss that I'm feeling and to quit worrying so much about being macho and "toughing it out."
When I looked at my scheduled at the beginning of the week, I figured today's yoga workout would be the first one I'd be able to skip if I ran short on time.
Looking back, it was the most important thing I did all week. Thirty minutes out of 10,080 re-aligned my entire outlook.
291 days and counting.