A Funny Thing Happened During Meditation….

A Funny Thing Happened During Meditation….

As I mentioned in a previous post, years ago my girlfriend and I took a yoga class.  It was in the evening at a local high school.

The final pose in the class was dedicated to meditation.  Our teacher had an incredibly soothing voice and  instructed us to flex then relax muscles, starting at our head and working down to our feet.  Then, using ‘guided meditation,’ she took us on a journey describing an idyllic place.  As she spoke, I could visualize a beautiful hillside above a lake.  I could hear the movement of the water, the only other sound was my breathing.  I could smell the grass and feel the warmth of the sun.  It was a perfect moment of tranquility.  I was mindful of her words as I focused on the moment.

“Now you are floating on a cloud.  As you look down, you can see yourself lying on the grass, you can see the clouds mirrored in the lake.  You are at peace.”

And then, THE END OF CLASS BELL CLANGED.

OMG!  WHAT IN THE HECK WAS THAT?

I sat up and looked around.  Where was my lake?  Where was the sun?  Where was the grass?  That wonderful, blissful peaceful moment was gone.

Once home it was back to  the mundane, clean up the kitchen, finish some laundry, make sure all was ready for tomorrow, and then time for sleep.

The following morning my alarm went off.  I sat up in bed.  The sheets were a grassy green, the walls a pale yellow.  Confused I thought, “where the heck am I?” Then, “wait a minute, WHO AM I?”  I just sat there looking at the unfamiliar, unaware of who or where I was.  I don’t think it lasted more than 30 seconds — however, it was the longest 30 seconds of my life.

I worked at a large medical center and while eating lunch, I mentioned what had happened to a friend (who also happened to be a psychiatrist).  “Wasn’t that weird?  I’ve never awakened not knowing where I was, much less who I was.”

“What did you do last night?”

“Went to a yoga class with Ro.”

“Did anything unusual happen?”

“Not really, oh the damn bell went off right in the middle of meditation.”

“Really, was the teacher guiding you through meditation?”

“Well yes, she was talking about our lying in the grass, and then we were up in a cloud looking at our body beneath us, and then the bell went off.”

Hmmm, ANOTHER BELL JUST WENT OFF!  Yep, it was a post hypnotic suggestion.

Last Thursday a friend at Toastmasters was telling me about her Yoga class.  She couldn’t find enough superlatives to describe it.  I was pretty candid about my experiences, but she invited me to her class anyway — me, with the broken toe and the post hypnotic suggestion.  More unbelievable, was my response.  I said, “Yes.”  Should I survive, I’ll let you know how it goes!

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FLEXIBILITY CAN BE ACHIEVED (or not)

FLEXIBILITY CAN BE ACHIEVED (or not)

“FLEXIBILITY HAS BECOME A MODERN DAY VALUE.  BUT FLEXIBILITY COMES WITH A COST”

MAYNARD WEBB

Truth be told, I don’t think Maynard was discussing the type of flexibility for which I am looking.  Author of ‘Rebooting Work: Transform How You Work in the Age of Entrepreneurship,’ Mr Webb has written a book about adapting to work in this age of the internet.

I, on the other hand, have been yearning for flexibility of movement.  While I’m not an expert on kinesiology, I have noticed that as you age the joints get stiff, and that wonderful suppleness of youth becomes a distant memory.  Not so, for my former yoga instructor from years ago.  I believe she was probably in her 60’s.  Just watching the spring in her step,  her agility and ‘stretchiness’ was inspiring.

Rereading a portion of Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, ‘Eat, Pray, Love,’ and thinking back to my instructor, it occurred to me going to a yoga class was a good idea.  I googled Yoga and found a Hatha Yoga class not too far from my house.  And surprise, a beginners’ class was scheduled to start in one week!

On the first day, I found myself with a number of ladies ranging in age from twenty to perhaps seventy-something.  We were told some movements are easier than others but were assured that if we’d stick with it we would see improvement.  In my case, getting up and down gracefully is a challenge.  Mother had a reason for not selecting the name ‘Grace’ for her daughter.

The first thing we were asked to do was sit cross-legged while maintaining good posture.  Sounds easy, doesn’t it?  I watched the others in the class.  Their knees were almost touching the floor.  Mine were up to my ears.  It was suggested that I sit on some towels, elevating my bum so my knees appeared to be closer to the floor.  “Oh, and watch that posture!”

Funny, I had no recollection of pain during my earlier classes.  Our instructor explained that most of us had spent many years sitting, standing and walking incorrectly.  “As a result, some of these poses may be difficult. But don’t worry, just stick with it.”  Good grief!  I had soooo many years of bad sitting, standing and walking to make up for!

I don’t recall perspiration dripping down my face in past classes, but I was beginning to feel it now.  The word ‘INFLEXIBLE’ was flashing before my eyes.  We moved on to standing poses: the Sun Salute, Downward Dog, but inevitably we were back on the floor in the Lotus Position.  “OMG, my hips won’t move, what am I going to do?”  Perhaps, the instructor saw the look of terror on my face, because she asked us to rise again and that’s when I stumbled.  I didn’t fall completely because I was able to catch myself — unfortunately with the second toe of my left foot.  Just as I was about to let out a gasping cry, I saw the sign:

“NO WHINING PLEASE”

“What?  You have to be kidding!”

The instructor was on to another pose — the ‘Warrior Pose.’  She tried to assist this warrior who couldn’t put pressure on her left foot and breathe at the same time.

The hour was almost over and it was time for the ‘Corpse Pose.’  “Are they going to put me out of my misery?”  Lying on my back, my toe throbbing, I awaited my fate.  Fortunately, it was only time for meditation.  And then our Instructor said, “Namaste.”  The class had ended.

I hoped my ‘corpse toe’ could be revived.  Too bad we didn’t have a video of me leaving the studio.  Limping and appearing to be wearing some kind of body armor, I was the personification of rigidity.  Yep, achieving flexibility does come with a cost.  Regrettably there’s no guarantee you will realize it.