Soaking in Stillness: the Effect of a Power Outage on Best-Laid Plans

This week for our Yoga Teacher Training, we have been reading about Pratyahara and Dharana in The 8 Limbs of Yoga: Pathway to Liberation by Bhava Ram.  In fact I was reading this book, at lunch (by myself) as below:

At the very beginning of the chapter on Pratyahara, Bava talks about our to-do lists and how they never end and we keep adding to them…

We have forgotten how to be Human Beings and instead have become Human Doings.

I was reading on a short break between checking things off my to-do list (while waiting for my lunch), with the to-do list laying directly under the text telling me to be more present.

Convenient to have such a clear message in front of me.  (I am still carrying around that list… and adding to it).  Have I learned anything?

Tonight as I got home from class, I had planned the next few hours: cook dinner, bake some bread, maybe even a sweet treat as well for the rest of the week.  After pouring quinoa into a pan, preparing to rinse, my apartment went dark.  The power went out, and the electric company had no idea why, and I had no idea when I would be able to turn on a burner to heat the water to do any cooking.

And something else – on that list of tasks to accomplish were the words “take a bath”. Yes, my life has become so full of things to accomplish, that I had to plan to do something so simple. And the truth is, I have been putting off a simple, pleasurable, self-care bath for over a month.  So tonight when the power went out, I sliced an apple, ate it with almond butter and a slice of fiber-rich, gluten-free bread, scrubbed the tub and took a candlelight bath.

And it was so nice.  I sat in silence for a while, then started singing some Bonnie Raitt.  Totally cathartic.

Tonight’s power outage was a lesson in being present – enjoying what I have available to me in the moment, soaking in the stillness (and silence of no electronics!), and taking care of myself.  I am learning slowly, one step at a time.

When was the last time you did something for yourself?
Do you have a practice of self-care, and spending time in stillness?

As always, I would love to hear your story.

with love and light,
Alaina

Saturday’s Run: a.k.a. “Get Your Rear in Gear”

Last Friday, when the weekly email came from our local run-planning-expert, I scanned the email to find our starting point, check the distance, and was thrilled with the scrumptious words and double-digit numbers my eyes brought into focus.  We were starting at the Farmer’s Market (and ending there – fresh breakfast, anyone?), and doing 10-11 miles.  Perfect!  The initial email had no map of the route or elevation map, so I just planned to follow the group, no biggie.

Later that evening, a second email with more details arrived to my Inbox, and again, I paid it little heed, knowing I would do an extra 1-2 miles prior to the run, I was focusing on going to bed so I could get up a little early.  To be honest, I am happy I didn’t look to closely at the route or see the elevation map, or I would have been a little more nervous about the words at the end of the message that declared: “This is going to be a butt-burner!”

Yep.  And, man oh, man, that was no lie!

The day started with a beautiful sunrise…
Halfway through our run, we were off the pavement, and onto trails…
…which soon became muddy and slick as the rain poured down on us!
We saw a little Newt! (I know it looks like a worm, but do you see his little legs?)
After the first summit to reach the Vista Bridge on the way out, the second summit up the Wildwood Trail in Forest Park, we found that getting up Vista really was another LONG uphill…
The view was TOTALLY worth it.
By the time we saw our destination, stomachs were growling, mouths watering; we knew we would be at the Market shortly!

We all made it to the end of this run.  A day later, I felt soreness I have not felt in… Months, truthfully, probably not since last year’s marathon at St. George.  I learned that my ‘hills’ on my daily run are nothing compared to what we conquered Saturday.  And that was only (I say only because I know what I am up against in July for the Siskiyou Outback) 400 feet gain/loss (albeit three times!).  

In June, I plan to tackle some serious hills, and some altitude.  Does anyone want to join me for some long runs at Timberline?

After our run, and perusing the Farmer’s Market, I made my way home and took a bath.  The first bath I’ve taken in over five months, and the first in this new home.  I love this tub, and I do not know why I ever “forget” or do not make time for baths.  Self care is SO important!  (and it was SO deliciously relaxing…)

Next weekend, we are being treated to a flat course.  For this, I am grateful – I am scheduled to run 17 miles, and I do not know how I would make it through 17 miles of hills like last weekend!

What distance are you tackling this weekend?

Until next time, Happy running!  And always remember to treat yourself with care.  🙂  You deserve it!!!

with joy in movement (and in rest),
~Alaina