As part of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program that I’ve been completing, I’ve been doing yoga.  One of the positions is  “the chair”.  It is basically adopting a near sitting position, using the air as a seat. This requires the use of my leg muscles, particularly the muscles on the backs of my thighs. The psychologist on the video does a number of repetitions of the pose. The last pose is held for the longest amount of time. She says a number of things at this time, one them being, “sit back into that easy chair…” As soon as I hear the word, “easy”, I start feeling the burn more in the backs of my legs. The word, “easy” made it harder! Then she talks about how we might be feeling fatigued or warm. That’s part of mindfulness, noticing the sensations in one’s body, even the uncomfortable ones.

I have been doing this yoga routine for a number of weeks now. At first, I thought, “Why does she have to say that? She’s making it harder.” I soon learned that if I tuned-out her words and focused on her body language, which was relaxed, it was easier to do the pose. I soon became mindful that tuning out the words also meant tuning out my attention to the sensations in my body. I was merely distracting myself, which can be an effective coping technique at times, but it is not in keeping with my intent to do a mindful practice. I redirected my attention back to my body.

Today when I did this pose, I felt the temperature of my body rise. I felt the fatigue in my legs. But I also felt something else. I felt strong, strong enough to be my own chair. Every moment in life is different. Some of them are actually easy. Many of them are very difficult. Most of them are somewhere in between.

I don’t always have to provide my own chair. It gives me great peace, however, to know that when I need to do so, I can support myself, by myself.