I had a moment on my mat a while ago, a realisation if you will, that one of the best things I love about my morning practice is that no one actually cares - bear with me here!
I was just starting my closing sequence when it hit me that I hadn’t cared about what I looked like throughout my time there, and no one else had either. A huge difference to when I was on my way there; I had some new blemishes joyfully appear in the morning and became aware just how pale I’m now looking after the darkness of winter (pretty shallow I know!) but in there, on my mat, those worries disappeared.
Everyone was going about their practice as they do, including myself. We were all moving and breathing at different times, not worrying about other people’s opinions. I was just doing me. In the present.
Now I know that these little phrases we use for motivation can wear thin and soon lose all meaning. You know the ones I mean; “just be you”, “focus on you”, “listen to your heart/your true self/your higher self”. I’ll admit it’s taken me a long time to get my head around some of these phrases but on the mat in that moment, I realised what it means to actually just be me.
I went through my sequence as I do, I practiced in my own time and at my own pace, feeling my way through each asana and trying as hard as only I could. When help came along, I gratefully accepted but didn’t dwell on my inability or their generosity. I wasn’t judging myself nor was I even concerned about the person next to me - they were in their own sequence.
I think this is one of the wonderful things about running and yoga, and really any other form of moving meditation or exercise that you can really just have ‘me time’. All of the worries soon evaporate, the large and the small and then you come into a state of peace. Even if you are utterly knackered and dripping with sweat when you do!
It’s a little unfortunate that we have to learn this peace because we live in a competitive, judgemental environment. We are constantly evaluating and then re-evaluating ourselves, setting incredibly high goals and aspirations, and then judging ourselves for not reaching them or even in some cases, reaching them. You’ve hit 10/10 on that but now you need to be more, you need to up your game yet again! We lose ourselves in the process to the extent that we don’t even know how we got to the end, we just did.
You'll most likely read in many yoga articles and quotes that it is the journey that should be cared about, not reaching a certain asana or a particular series. It’s with this type of journey, you can just be you, without judgement or one fixed goal. You constantly evolve and change, and the best part is you’ll get to notice that you are.
This mindfulness has been so calming and influential in my day to day life, and being able to remind myself that my highs and lows are all part of the process is incredibly comforting.
So on your next run, bike ride, yoga practice, try to notice that moment where you are simply moving, breathing and going about your way, just being you.