It has been a long winter. One of the longest I've experienced in my life, and it had nothing to do with the weather. As I get excited about seeing the official season near to a close, I have been reflecting on the time. It has been a rough few months...for myself and my family. Working toward a life of deep fulfillment is tough work, and with a lot of variables in the mix, it can feel like a circus balancing act. The past few weeks I have felt catapulted, emotionally. In working diligently toward what I hope to be a new path for more than a year...and have not been able to manifest much change, at least in the way I envisioned it. In fact, it has felt more like swimming against a strong current and moving ever-so-slowly backwards.
But this week, I experienced a shift. Sometimes it takes a nudge, sometimes more than a nudge...thanks to my dear husband, a good friend across the world...and this quote:
It has been a pivotal realization that I have been on a battlefield, against myself.
The yoga philosophy teaches us to honor Ahimsa ("non-violence") in every aspect of our lives. In fact, Ahimsa is the foundation of all the yoga principles (there are nine more, and this book captures them perfectly).
With non-violence, we can begin to find our true self. Often we think of non-violence in how we may be affecting others. But how often do we harm ourselves? It's the small things. Not eating nutritiously, working too hard, stressing too much, not taking care of ourselves, self-blame, and ignoring what makes us happy. These are violent and unkind acts we can do to ourselves...but sometimes hard to recognize until we fall, burn out...or it bleeds into our home-life, and our relationships.
This weekend was an important one. Not just because my soul needed some rejuvenation, but the end of winter can feel numbing, dark and endless. It was a beautiful early March day, and my husband and I knew just the trick to brighten our souls: fly fishing. Fly fishing is a love we found and grew together, and something that brings both of us back to our roots. We only had a few hours in the day, but drove to one of our old sacred stomping grounds in northern Colorado. Fly fishing is near impossible in the middle of winter, unless you are able to find some areas of unfrozen open water. It was warm on this day though, and the lower part of the river was open and bright, quiet and perfectly clear.
We dusted off our fly rods, managed to stuff our plump wintery bodies into our waders...and headed to the riverbank. My absolute favorite part of fly fishing is the first few steps into the water. It feels like I'm entering a new world, becoming a part of something magical. For some reason, it felt too much time had passed since I was last here. As I sent out the first cast, I wondered what it would feel like if I fell in. In a fun, happy, "oops-I-tripped" kind of way. This time of year the water is slow-moving, the levels are low and the water is just starting to absorb the warm sunshine on its surface. I craved to be jolted. Pushed, shoved, re-awakened.
It is amazing to feel my yoga practice come to life in moments off the mat. Striking dancer pose in my waders while fishing (not easy) is yoga in real life...whether I'm posing for a blog post picture or not :) It brings every experience, like simple fishing, to a new level of awareness, a new level of joy and fulfillment.
Yoga is the practice of Ahimsa. Yoga on the mat is perfect in every way, no matter how you move, how you breathe or what you look like...something amazing and transformative is created always there. Take it off the mat. Take your breath off the yoga mat and follow it into every moment of your day.
How do you want to feel, who do you want to be?
Do that, every day.
Feel that every day.
And if you don't, stop what you're doing and start something different.
On your last day on earth...don't shake the hand of the person you could have become, look in the mirror and see it for yourself.
Hello, I'm Julie.
Discover the wisdom of yoga and how it can bring nourishment, well-being and a deeper connection to all aspects of your life.