The Quest for Mindfulness: CLICK, CLICK, CLICK

I sometimes forget when I head to yoga practice on Thursdays after work that I am not just rushing to do my asanas but to understand my mind a bit more.  I sometimes struggle with breath-focused seated  meditation,  so it was a welcome change when Tatjana asked all of us to throw our yoga mats in the middle of the room, as we were going to start with a walking meditation. Hurray! This sounded way more up my alley –  yay to movement because dynamic is my jam, but boo to realising this is WAY more difficult than seated meditation.

As we walked in a counterclockwise circle, I felt like I had been thrown back into skate drills where we would skate in the same direction and at a whistle had to execute maneuvers, race someone or break. It was a very Pavlovian experience for me,  as my body remembered things on a muscular level that had been drilled into it for the last 5 years. When Tatjana clapped to indicate A change of direction or stopping, my body automatically executed a hockey stop instead of just stopping like a normal human being. On a mental level my mind was starting to hear  Mephistophelian whisperings from that judgmental competitive voice in my head saying things like:

“Christ the girl in front is so slow, overtake her… you can go faster…I bet you can overtake everyone in the circle if you want… no no slow down… no no go faster… slow… fast’ you get the general drift.

Add the mindfulness practice on top of this, where Tatjana asked us to ‘kiss the floor with your feet’ and concentrate on our breath, and one has a pretty challenging meditation. I think my foot kissing floor technique needs a little work.

Circling in a slow walk/jog I could just hear my left ankle click, click, click and then when I wasn’t paying attention to my Long John Silver clicking ankle, then I was distracted outside where every few seconds I would look out the window onto the infamous Curry 36 sausage stand.

Click, click, click – Sausages

Click, click, click – Sausages

Click, click, click – Sausages

Click, click, click – Sausages

Having forgotten my contact lenses for practice and wearing the worlds most impractical Woody Allen-esque glasses to class, I made the executive decision to do the rest of my yoga practice without them. I was pretty much semi blind, which I thought would be more challenging, but surprisingly added a pretty cool element of concentration and awareness to my practice that I had been missing ever since I began my Yoga practice in earnest a few weeks back.

Granted I did have to squint at Tatjana like Mr. Magoo to ascertain what the flesh coloured blob directly in front of me was instructing us to do (sorry Tatjana, you are a wonderful  flesh coloured blob) but once I let go and just listened, trusted my body and felt the corrections I needed to make, I was starting to feel the kind of connection between my breath and body that felt good, like a little break through and improvement.

Delighting in the thought I was improving Tatjana noted: ‘Yoga is not about self-improvement but rather about self-inquiry’.

Wait…what? but, but, but – said my ego, I want to see marked development, I want to be a lean mean yoga machine. I guess that was a well-timed and gentle reminder from Tatjana drawing me back to the intention of being present and aware of the here and now. I’m starting to suspect Tatjana can read minds, I will be attending the next class with tin foil on my head.