It’s In The Breath, Part Two

Over the last few months, I have committed to both Pilates and yoga, with the same instructor Robert, now my friend and guru and yogi. A man who has lived more lives than anyone I know, done more things than anyone I know, youth bellying his 68 years in better health today than he has ever been, he’s an inspiration. Coupled with a team of caring health providers, all of whom I would call friends – Barb, my acupuncturist, Barbara, my chiropractor and Bailey, my masseuse – my commitment this year to myself has been one to my health. Some days, I do better than others; but every day I do make a commitment.

Typically I am late for Pilates. Though hurried, I can now immediately get into the zone. My breath comes easily now, deep and meaningful. For that I am proud of myself, the small wins a barometer of my growth. My thoughts that typically dominate my day are but a distant memory as I focus on the breath. And on those days when I feel it is my best session yet, I walk out with a big smile. As Robert says to me, “It was your best session because you thought so. But you thought so, cos you knew so. And that’s the way it is.” Profoundly true, and as I often do after a Pilates session with Robert, I leave invigorated both body, mind, heart and soul. 

Some other days, I don’t feel quite so hot, as I recalled (every such day with my chiropractor and) one such evening with my acupuncturist. By the time I laid down on the table, she asked me…

“How are you feeling?”

“How do I look like I feel?” 

Though incredibly sweet and funny in a quirky sort of a way, she’s also very direct.

“You look terrible!”

“Really? How can you tell?”

“You’re pulse is racing. You’re incredibly dehydrated and you look like you have not slept in days!”

“What’s the good news?”

Soon, I was in dreamland, with a multitude of needles on my back and legs, accompanied by “cups” suctioned off my back. And I felt all that negative energy wash away.

I typically visit the chiropractor once a week for a few weeks then take a break before starting the regimen again. I usually get a massage at least twice a month (and when I’m feeling especially sadistic, I goto a Thai masseuse, an older sixty-year-old woman, who literally beats the snot out of me). Each time I go, I walk away a new man.

My transformation really took a change for the better when I started yoga. Yoga has not been easy. I am literally starting at the bottom with sun salutations A. I’m so bad at this that my only path is up. And that gives me hope. I shared those thoughts with Robert after one such session, who responded with a brilliant quote of his. “Life will always try to get in the way of your dreams; therefore, your dreams must be bigger than life.” Even though that session was not a productive one for me physically, it transformed me mentally. I decided to be gentle with myself, and instead of focusing what I could not do with appreciating all that I had learned. I thought of this beautiful quote from Patanjali (often called the originator of yoga)…

When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be. 

My commitment to myself remains true and it remains strong, especially on the hard days. As I do with every session, I realize my problems await me afterwards and the world still turns, that does not change. Armed with the peace taking care of my body offers it, how I look at my problems surely does.


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