This time of year brings out the thankfulness in people, and I love that aspect about the holidays.
I woke up on Monday morning in one of those “lazy – I’m not in the mood to do anything” type of moods. Have you ever had that feeling? You know you just need a day to do nothing. That’s how I felt on Monday so that is exactly what I did. I rested. Later that afternoon, I was ready to get out of the house so I ventured to my Monday night yoga class still in a “sluggish” mood. I didn’t want to go, but knew it would make me feel better afterwards. Exercising always leaves me feeling energized. So, I headed to the yoga studio.
I arrived early, climbed the white stairs to check in at the desk, and walked into the dimly lit classroom. I placed my yoga mat down in the corner of the room and grabbed a blanket from the shelf on the wall. I placed the blanket down on my mat and sat with my legs crossed. I took a deep breath in and quietly breathed as others slowly walked in the door and placed their yoga mats on the dark wooden floors. I waited for class to begin.
I never pictured myself as a yoga person. The sitting. The breathing. Being still. That never felt like me. Not that I’m athletic either. Sweating is not my favorite activity nor is lifting weights or anything like that. I’m just not that type of girl. I joined a yoga studio at the beginning of this year because a friend of mine said I should give it a try as the studio was advertising a special. So, I did. And as it turns out, I am yoga type of person. The sitting and breathing and concentrating on balance and holding poses. All of it leaves me energized. So three days a week I give 75 minutes of my day to a yoga studio. It works for me.
We start every class the same way. The teacher walks into the room and sits on the white round-shaped pillow by the window. Depending on who teaches that night, he or she may ask how everyone is doing and if any injuries exist. Also, recommendations for any particular pose may be taken to focus on during the class. Then announcements are read. And after that we begin. You find a comfortable position on the mat. You close your eyes. You take a deep breathe in and soak in the warmness in the air and begin slowing down your breathing. This Monday night class was no different.
As I sat there breathing, the teacher began to tell us a little about what she was focusing on this month. Usually as we start, the teacher will ask that you set an intention for the class. Something that you want to focus on. It can be anything. It can be the same thing for each class. Or you don’t have to participate at all. It is up to you. I do yoga for purposes of relaxation, so I usually focus on quiet. Quieting my mind and my thoughts. As I sat there breathing, our instructor explained how she would be focusing on the same thing each class this month: giving thanks. I breathed in slowly as the teacher began to list off what she was thankful for. I expected to hear the words family and friends and good health come out of her mouth, but those words were never spoken that Monday night. I sat with my eyes closed listening as she listed off a number of situations that I hope I never have to face. Her intention was to be thankful for the undesirable in life. To be thankful for the difficult and the moments of strength.
Death and loss of a loved one unexpectedly. Divorce or the end of relationship sooner than you expected. Timing and being single when you are ready for a relationship. Or infertility when you want nothing more than to have a family in your life. Financial troubles. Cancer and disease.
I kept thinking about my difficult throughout the class. For me, the hardest part of my day that Monday was being in a sluggish mood. Truthfully, that was the hardest part of my day. I wanted to be productive and it just wasn’t happening. I know that isn’t the same for everyone, but for me that is where my life is right now. Thankfully.
As we finished class, I left with a feeling of thankfulness. Thankful for everything. The good and the bad. The easy and the difficult. It is to easy to focus on the good in life. But, it takes true strength to be thankful for those tough situations that stay longer than you anticipated. Longer than you ever wanted. It is those moments where I believe your faith grows and your character is developed. Be thankful for those moments as well.