Namaste! Finding Your Zen in Three Lessons?

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You may know that within the various yoga’s practices, some focus on either Yin and Yang poses or so-called asanas, or just on one or the other. Yin being the non-active poses done on the floor, where your joints and ligaments do the work, while your muscles relax. Yang on the other side, is the one known for active standing poses, that ask for balance, coordination, and muscular strength.

Following suggestion of a physiotherapist, who recommended Yin yoga as a must-do, to help me with stress and erratic sleep’s patterns after enduring a two-year’s shoulder injury. He stressed that I should in no way do the Yang yoga. 

I had some forces playing against this choice, though.

I had been a basketball player – despite my height – and later adopted windsurfing, hiking, cycling and gym classes as sports. All very active and enduring sports.

I had been a global corporate executive since the beginning of my career, living on adrenalin high active level, as all corporate athletes do.

I had looked for a formula for work-life balance, and a so-called inner peace state; I had followed a Mindfulness Meditation course 3 years before, practiced for a while, and stopped as I couldn’t stop my mind from thinking, when I thought I should be, still.

My conclusion: I was inapt for the meditation and yoga challenge. My brain ruled. One day I would find time to go to India, and spend a whole month in an Ashram to train this stuff and acquire a zen mind! Inner peace in a few lessons.

In short: I went to the yoga class instead of India, but true to the way I used to doing things, i.e, on a mission to learn a new skill, master it, and finally sleep again like a baby.

Easy, right? Nope.

First of all, I had to break my rhythm from 500km per hour to 10km. Doing Yin yoga was not as easy as I thought. My go-getter, high performing, speedy mindset didn’t serve me. The problem was to let go my old and conditioned behavior to either stretch muscles or exert force. No pain no gain, isn’t it?

Lesson 1: Not doing anything with muscles, and bending forward or backwards, requested much more effort. I believed that meditation and yoga required my brain to turn itself off. However, I had to use my brain, as well as breathing skills (it was quite difficult to pay attention to it without getting distracted) to focus on the movement, and let my muscles loosen up.

Secondly, there was no manual for yoga dummies; of course there are instructions for asanas, but NOT the right pose, the right balance, the high performance standard – things I used to pursue, private or professionally, in everything I did.

Lesson 2: Every person’s body has a unique anatomy, and for that, all we need is to find the pose that serves our body the best, with the help of bolsters and cushions. Only then, when we find our way, we can best use our muscles, joints and ligaments to our advantage, and believe me, we relax and move the body forward or backwards, without pain or effort.

Thirdly, I was also conditioned to live in my brain. I seemed to clearly separate my body from it. My body was there to do whatever physical activity, but I hardly paid attention to it. Thinking was not only where I put my attention, but all value.

Lesson 3 and the most important one: To do 1 and 2, I needed to acknowledge body and mind. I needed to connect body and mind. There was no either or. There was no formula to find inner peace and zen. And zen was not something I would find outside, let alone in 3 lessons! Zen is not something one finds at a yoga training nor after a one-month stay in an ashram in India.

I will tell you a story of what I saw yesterday at my yoga school.

After class I was making some photos of my yoga teacher at the reception, just for fun, when a woman arrived and identified herself to the receptionist to get the coin that gives access to the classroom. She was informed that the class was closed as she arrived 5 min before start.

Hell broke loose. She was furious and non-zen when she said: ‘I pay for this. I come here to be zen and not to get this bullshit’. Well, well, well. Both the teacher and I stared at the scene. The woman was kindly informed by a very smiley and zen receptionist about the school’s  rules, which she had signed for: fifteen min before class, a student loses the reservation made online, and the place is given to those on the waiting list.

The angry woman went to a next step of non-zen, requesting the cancellation of her subscription to the school.

Now you see what I meant? Zen is a state of balance that, even if we pay, we don’t find outside ourselves. Each one of us will draw our own zen definition.

Are you curious to know mine? To stop searching for it, and live my life with what it brings; the bad, the ugly, the good and the best. Each one happens for a reason. My zen is to accept to live with all of them.

Namaste!

I dedicate this post to Estelea, who asked me to share this story. She is not only my blogger friend but also my yoga buddy.

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Sharing my views and experiences with words and photos - taken with diverse angles - influenced by the multicultural countries I have lived and worked. I studied Psychology and have an MBA. After working for corporates, I became an entrepreneur and consultant. Cycling, hiking, windsurfing, cooking, reading, yoga, writing and photographing, are no longer just hobbies listed in a resume.

31 thoughts on “Namaste! Finding Your Zen in Three Lessons?

    1. I’m not surprised! We’re already buddies in two counts: blogging and windsurfing. Adding one more to the list!
      Give a a try with Yin yoga. It’s fantastic to balance with the other practices. I do: Vinyasa and Hatha, and of course Yin.
      By the way, the woman left the place running…kidding.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Namaste to you my dear and again I learned some more. Like you I find it hard to close my mind off and this has taken a while to do when meditating and I slip back a lot. Your right its not easy it takes time and dedication and well its a way of living isn’t it not just for half an hour. Wish you lived closer I would love to meditate with you x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I go to class when I can but I get distracted more than when I am doing it alone in my house … I do more Yin yoga trying to find the balance in stillness but like you and most people who are mentally active quieting the mind is a challenge 🙂
    I am naturally talkative – teaching being my profession so to be quiet is a big scare but not for the people around me I guess but eventually I found the balance of accepting and continuing the rhythm when I focus in only one thought every time and keep the pose the best I could and it was healing.
    Though now I don’t do it as often as I want but it did helped me and I hope this new experience help you too and find fulfillment in it.
    Namaste.

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  3. So glad you found the yoga that works for you. There are so many different kinds. I teach Gentle Hatha Yoga and will be starting a Chair Yoga class soon. I really like making yoga accessible to people. The breathing and meditation alone are so beneficial.
    Here’s a hint, when the mind wanders, simply draw your attention GENTLY back to your breath. You’ll find yourself doing this over and over again because the mind is made to think. It’s the letting go of the thoughts, not engaging in mental dialogue, not getting attached to the thoughts, that is key. Thoughts won’t stop, but they don’t have to rule us!
    … one last thing to share… I remember being in several very yang yoga classes. I came out of them feeling nervous, agitated and jittery every time. Other people found them renewing and refreshing. They needed a Yang class. I needed a more Yin class. Everyone is different, and needs can change from time to time. With all the different styles of yoga out there, there should just about be a class for everybody!
    Namaste!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I had forgotten that you are a yoga teacher. It’s wonderful. Now that I found my way and love yoga, I left the gym entirely. It as a big decision. I still cycle and do windsurf but these are connected to the spring to fall’s seasons of the year.
      Now I do yoga almost daily. I practice Yin, Hatha restorative, Hatha and Vinyasa. I get your pint about the Yang classes. I choose the mix of yang like that because these are mild classes compared to others I tried. And I don’t overdo it, just 1-2 times a week max.
      The true benefits of yoga have been a big discovery for someone like me. I am able to find relaxation more than I have ever been in my entire life. Besides, it helped me reducing the chronic neuropathic pain that I have, due to a neck injury from a car accident.
      Thank you so much for the tips. I do as you say and it really works. Of course sometimes it doesn’t, and then I don’t resist the thoughts, making them go away when I’m ready.
      I don’t know the chair yoga. Will google after this. Is Gentle Hatha the same as restorative?
      Thanks again. And have a peaceful weekend.
      Namaste.

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  4. I didn’t know about yin and yang yoga. You really do learn something new everyday. Thanks for this post. Another reminder that we need to transfer the calmness we learn in things like yoga and mindfulness into our everyday lives, or what’s the point? Something I’m definitely working on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Sally.
      It was an interesting coincidence. I noticed the opportunity only when post processing the photo. I saw the shadow while shooting but very lightly.
      It was a good way to emphasize it and match with yin/yang.

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  5. I’d really like to read this more closely and comment, but that will have to wait as I’m almost ready to leave for work. I did want to let you know that I nominated you for the 5-Day Black and White Challenge. “Rules?” Post a black and white photo for 5 days and nominate someone else. I understand if you choose not to participate, but just wanted you to know you’ve been nominated (for whatever that’s worth!!) 🙂

    Have a serene day. (The name of the teashop where I’m working part time now is SereneTeaz.)

    janet

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    1. Hi Janet. Thank you for the nomination. I love B&W so it’s accepted with pleasure.
      Thanks for the wishes. May your day be serene too.
      Lovely name for a business. Enjoying there still?
      Cheers!
      Lucile

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      1. Lucile, I’m glad you’re going to be participating. I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

        It is a lovely name for teashop. I’m in my fourth week and it’s going very well and I’m enjoying it immensely. Thanks for asking.

        janet

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Janet, I hope not to disappoint you.
          These are wonderful news. Tea surely is a serene type of business. I’d enjoy it. But maybe I’d be fired for drinking tea the whole day! Lol
          Have a lovely day!
          Lucile

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          1. The best part is that we’re supposed to drink tea all day, the better to get to know the teas and be able to match them with a customer’s likes/dislikes. 🙂 It can get a bit crazy, though, when lots of people come in at the same time. Yesterday morning was non-stop and a good part of the time, every table was full and the shop was filled with browsers/buyers. Good for business but nuts!

            Liked by 1 person

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