Saturdays With Leah: It’s Simple, Not Easy

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My Saturday morning yoga alarm was unwelcome today. I just lay there thinking that maybe I’ll take today off. It’s cold outside of this bed, and it’s dreary outside of this apartment. But, in true type A fashion, I sprung out of bed and threw on my yoga gear. In a few minutes, I’m guzzling a cup of coffee and heading out the door.

That’s when my boyfriend Andrew reminded me that my car needed anti-freeze…and that it was parked four blocks away (a long trek in the cold rain). Sigh. So, with 10 minutes until class, we sped over to my car, popped the hood, replenished the anti-freeze, and I was on my way.

Just getting to yoga is a simple task, but not always an easy one. This was the theme of today’s class with  Haute Yoga Queen Anne’s owner and instructor Leah Zaccaria, who substituted for Silvia Mordini. I like that phrase: “simple, but not easy.” Sometimes we use these words interchangeably when they really have such distinct, nuanced meanings.

Take, for example, the idea of meditation — simple, but not easy. Shay Colson shared an article with me this week in Harvard Business Review discussing the benefits of mediation in our busy lives. Aptly titled “If You’re Too Busy to Meditate, Read This,”  author Peter Bregman highlights the benefits of meditation that can improve our relationships, increase our dependability and raise our performance. Who can’t find time for something that can offer all of this? Well, it’s a challenging task to begin with. Peter illustrates this war with our inner voice stating,

“Within a breath or two of emptying my mind, thoughts came flooding in — nature abhors a vacuum. I felt an itch on my face and wanted to scratch it. A great title for my next book popped into my head and I wanted to write it down before I forgot it. I thought of at least four phone calls I wanted to make and one difficult conversation I was going to have later that day. I became anxious, knowing I only had a few hours of writing time. What was I doing just sitting here? I wanted to open my eyes and look at how much time was left on my countdown timer. I heard my kids fighting in the other room and wanted to intervene.”

Who wakes up and looks at their phone first thing in the morning? Me! My heart starts pounding and my mind begins to race as I watch my inbox populate. I begin to make mental notes about my first courses of action as soon as I get into the office, but as I do so, I find myself opening my computer to see if there’s anything I should just respond to now.

Communications technology has undoubtedly transformed the way we do business, bringing greater efficiency and collaboration. But, that changes the individual as well, bringing with it an omnipresent sense of availability and accountability. How am I supposed to meditate after that? Again, meditation is simple idea, but not an easy task.

Now, the task is to bring ease into the simplicity of it all. There is a way to make meditation easeful, and it starts with just letting go. I’m setting aside 20 minutes for meditation today.

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