I am excited about going to the beach tomorrow, and woke up early with lists running through my head – what to pack, errands to run today, things to do to leave the house empty, etc. After a while I got up and did a PT routine for my arthritis, followed by an hour or so of yoga.
I was thinking about all those lists while I did the PT, but by the time I got to yoga my head had pretty much divested itself of all those details and I just paid attention to my breath, the flow of the practice, and my alignment.
What is the difference between an exercise routine (weights, walking, whatever) and yoga? For me, it partly has to do with that peaceful dropping away of the detritus that keeps impinging on the present moment. Yoga is a way of being present. The goals of exercise routines (stronger abs, better aerobic capacity, etc.) keep you beyond the present, always striving and anticipating.
On a related note, every time I hear about the push to get competitive yoga into the Olympics I am baffled. True, I find myself checking around in class to see how I stack up against the other students, but part of my work is to let that go.
And, unrelated to the rest of this post, today I did Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog) for the first time in months. I had to strap my athritis-bent elbows and I only stayed up for five breaths, but so what? I’m on the mend.