The Challenge: Day 18

Midway through the moaning, groaning and yawning at my hot yoga class one morning, the teacher said, "Life, and yoga, are all about layers. Whichever layer you are at right now is exactly where you are meant to be." She was probably referring to the Binding Pigeon move, but for me, it struck a much more profound and personal chord. So, stay with me as I dive a bit deeper into this analogy.

The yoga moves of Runner's Lunge and Hurdler's Lunge involve stepping one foot forward, bending that knee, and placing one foot back with a straight leg as if you were at the starting line of an Olympic race. Then you lean all of your weight into that front foot with bended knee. If you are in the "first layer" of this stretch you will feel strain in a number of places right away. Once the body has acclimated to this layer of the stretch then you are ready for the next move which involves placing your arm under that front knee and engaging your bicep. Again, if this is where you are meant to be, then your whole body will be stretching and alert. The last layer involves placing that front knee on the same side elbow by bending your leg sideways (knee pointing to the side wall) and lifting the opposite leg behind you.

This is the Hurdler's Lunge, and it's a tough one. I am definitely still getting comfortable with "layer two." My body would collapse on me if I even tried the final move. In fact, if I really pushed myself to go into Hurdler's Lunge without any respect for the first two layers then I could seriously injure myself. It's all about listening to the physical reaction throughout your body and respecting "exactly where you are at."

In life, just as in yoga, we sometimes want to move from one chapter to the next with too much speed and a lack of respect or acknowledgement for where we are truly meant to be. Even worse, if we try and hurdle past (pun intended) phases then we are setting ourselves up to get hurt because each chapter builds off the last. Stress and pressure can come from the media, from peers or even family members. Don't internalize it. Breathe life into the moments that are happening right now and the ones directly in front of you.


Physical: Have you been consistently active for the last two months? Have you felt your strength and stamina improve? Are you disappointed with the pace of your progress? Be constant and be patient. If you do want a little extra nudge then try doing five push-ups a day and you might be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Spiritual: Whenever I find myself struggling to embrace the present I repeat a simple prayer. Closing your eyes, even in the middle of the day while sitting in your office, to whisper this prayer of serenity could be the key to re-centering your heart and mind. I challenge you to give yourself that 30-second break whenever you need it!

Personal: I decided to give up Facebook for Lent because I found myself measuring my own success and place in life against the appearance of the lives of others. Simply being in the present moment is so critical for me these days. I want to appreciate every moment and realize that life is too long to have to rush through it. The end result would be exhaustion and perpetual frustration.

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