i ran a marathon yesterday. i was feeling good, proud, happy, achieved, ...and a little stiff today. i talked to my sister this morning during our weekly skype yoga session about the race, and she told me that she feels like she runs a marathon everyday. she teaches preschool.
we all run marathons every day, don't we? whether it's working long hours on a project; racing against a deadline; or just feeling the pressure to achieve something that seems impossible. i practiced a million methods of positive thoughts while running the marathon, from "i can do anything!" to "my shoes are magic and have a special force that propel me forward!" to "if i finish this in under 4 hours, i never have to run another one!" and, of course, "i'm wearing my sister-superhero sash; i can just fly to the finish line!"
i talked to my sister about these things, and about a lovingkindness meditation, to offer that kindness back to herself and to help in her feelings of compassion and happiness. at the end of our practice this morning, we practiced a lovingkindness meditation from this month's Yoga Journal that says "friendliness toward those who are happy; compassion toward those who are not; equanimity toward all."
all day i thought about the meditation we shared, and tried to keep practicing it throughout my day. on the train on my way to teach yoga tonight, i began reflecting back on what got me through the race, and how i can use those same techniques in life.
i took these thoughts with me to the yoga class i taught tonight. i used the example of my sister's "marathon" and my own as the struggles we encounter every day to set an intention for mindfulness for the class: mindfulness we could use off the mat to combat stress, anxiety, and self-doubt. we began class by practicing mindfulness, and i offered gentle encouragement to return to these thoughts throughout class. amazingly, i saw my class learning and listening today. at one point, we were on our bellies resting after a reminder of mindfulness, and i offered the 45 students an opportunity to kick it up--to take an optional vinyasa if they were feeling it. not a soul moved. there was peace, rest, and beautiful stillness. i was in awe at the energy, focus, and mindfulness we had created during our practice.
at the end of class, i used the mindfulness meditation from Yoga Journal this month that focused on the stability of the individual through swirling thoughts: a mountain surrounded by clouds and storms. upon breathing in, we meditated on being the mountain; upon exhaling, we meditated on the stability we possessed. i felt the synchronicity and harmony of a class in tune with themselves and each other as we meditated and closed. it was beautiful!
on the way home from my yoga teaching tonight, i was posting about and reading all the nice wishes on my wall related to my marathon--heartwarming and truly an example of others showing "friendliness toward those who are happy." i felt blessed to have friends that can give such beautiful offerings. seeing this outpouring of "likes" and comments on my status updates set a great example for me.
my day full of reflections on marathons, meditation practice, experiencing beauty and accepting it from friends, ...and making it through a marathon of a day of my own... prove to me that marathons are constantly thrown at us. and that we can probably meditate our way through any of them.