Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher

On my mat, there is no room for fear.

29 Comments

I am hot. Sweating hot. It drips off my chin. It runs down my back.

I am lying on my mat, my feet, thighs, stomach, shoulders, arms, left ear pressed to the mat.

It is almost over. I am almost at the end.

I let the thought go.

It is not about beginning and endings. It is about this moment right now. Being present.

That was my intention when the yoga class had begun 70 minutes earlier. To be present.

I want to review my process but remember the instructor’s words at the beginning of the class. Yoga is not a competition. There is no judgment in yoga. There is only you and your body, present in the moment.

It is my fifth hot yoga class in five days.

I have set an intention to be present on my mat at least five days of the week.

I smile to myself. I wonder if my week began last week or if this day is the beginning of my new week.

Dang. There goes my mind. Off on a little jaunt.

I breathe. Bring myself into my breath. In. Out. Breathe in Love. Exhale gratitude. A continuous circle of renewable energy filling me up with all that I need to be present in my practice and my day.

I am relatively new to yoga.

I have intermittently practiced it over the years, okay more off than on, and have only come to the mat with any intention recently.

Yoga was never fast enough for me. Hard enough. It wasn’t filled with pounding feet and racing heartbeats and if I didn’t feel like I’d run a marathon, what was the point of doing it?

I am learning the truth. After thousands of miles hitting the pavement, my knees and joints are grateful. Yoga is about presence. Strengthening and lengthening. It is about the moment, not the destination.

I look around the class. Candles flicker on wooden blocks set into one wall. The lights are semi-dim. Bodies lay supine on multi-colours of mats spread out throughout the room.

There is peace here. Contentment.

And the gratification of a hard workout.

Oops. There I go again. Looking for the win.

I bring my thoughts back to my breath.

I give a quick scan of my body for points of tension.

I meet myself where I’m at.

I feel present. Relaxed. Strong.

The instructor invites us into the frog pose.

I have forgotten my towel. For a moment my mind races with concerns around pressing my upper body into bare floor.

I am dripping. Wet. The scooped neckline of my t-shirt soaked. The nape of my hair soggy.

I move into the pose, my torso pressing down through my knees on the mat, my upper body cradled between my splayed out arms. I rest my forehead on my hands.

I breathe into the pose. I smile as my mind imagines a bullfrog sitting on a lily pad. He gives one giant croak as his tongue whips out to capture a passing fly.

I breathe in. Pull up slightly from my bend and exhale as I deepen once again into the pose. I am seeking the comfort of no tension (not to mention no frogs catching flies).

“I like to read a verse as we finish off the pose,” the instructor says, her voice a melodic chant high above my head. There is a slight burble of laughter in her voice. “It’s a good way to distract your thinking as you hold the frog.”

I smile.

“Fear or Love,” she reads.

I listen, my mind forgetting the discomfort my body is starting to feel as it pushes itself over the edge of what it knows is possible into holding the pose longer than it thought it could.

I listen and smile again. No matter what you choose to do, ask yourself if you are doing it through fear, or love.

Do you  work because you are afraid of poverty or do you do work for the love of doing something worthwhile, contributory?

Do you fear not having food and a roof over your family’s head, or do you provide for them as an expression of your love?

No matter what you do, let go of fear and move through love.

I began my practice afraid I would not be able to do it. That I would look ridiculous compared to the other supple and toned (and did I mention youthful?) bodies in the class.

I let go of my fear.

I am here on my mat because I love my body and want to provide it what it needs. I want to take care of it so that it can carry me through my days effortlessly and with grace.

I came to my mat, my mind filled with fearful thoughts of how less than the others I was.

There is no less than on my mat. There is no room for fear. There is only Love.

Namaste.

PS — do try out  Calgary Hot Yoga.  Great studio!

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Author: Louise Gallagher

I believe we each have the capacity to be the change we want to see in the world, to make a world of difference. I believe we are creative beings on the journey of our lifetimes. It's up to each of us to Live It Up and SHINE!

29 thoughts on “On my mat, there is no room for fear.

  1. Namaste to you dear Louise! ♥

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  2. Great post thanks for sharing

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  3. Those critter thoughts poke at us, even in the most mindful moments. My mind is so conditioned to compete and compare that I frequently have to come to the awareness that I’ve slipped into feeling disappointment in myself for not being more mindful. Argh! Breathe.

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    • I think it may be a ‘western’ phenomena — the mind is conditioned to compete and compare — love that term. know it too too well!

      Argh. Breathe. 🙂 and let go of disappointment in myself.

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  4. I might take Yoga but I could never do hot Yoga – good for you! So glad you’re enjoying it Louise.
    Diana xo

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  5. Love the message Louise!

    Choose the fear of lack or he love of abundance.

    Choose the converged thinking of fear vs. the divergent thinking of love.

    … the heaviness vs. the lightness …

    It is in our emotional intelligence we make this choice. The door to this place is guarded by the one you refer I as “the Critter”.

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  6. Hi Louise,
    I tried Hot Yoga a couple of years ago with one of my daughters. I struggle with hot flashes, so I have to admit I didn’t go back, but if another opportunity arises I will try it again. My fears are resurfacing …aging…my work…making a change.What to do?
    P.S. You’re lovely card arrived in the mail today.Thanks.

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    • Ah yes. Those fears. Aging is such a big one for me too Yolanda. It’s one of the things that brought me to the mat — my body needs me to keep it supple, moving, strong. Hot flashes would definitely make hot yoga challenging — my youngest daughter does not like hot yoga. She thinks it’s not good for you! 🙂 It will be wonderful to see you in a couple of weeks! Hugs my friend.

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  7. Fear is part of most people’s life, I don’t know if there is really anyone who has no fear what so ever

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  8. Interesting – knowing you only through blogging I would not have guessed you’d be into hard and sweaty exercise! Not that I don’t ever sweat or do some fairly tough strengthening poses, but I started right off in gentle, traditional hatha and felt so at home that 28 years later I’ve never stopped. I love to hear stores like yours of people finding their way to insight and peace on the mat! And it’s a lesson for me that you’re getting all this from hot yoga.

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    • I used to run marathon Leigh. I loved sprinting and was once a climber…. 🙂 there truly is something very satisfying for me about sweating it out. I feel like every pore in my body is getting cleansed. In hot yoga I am loving the Vinyassa Flow — the smooth oneness of flowing from one pose to the next. WOW — 28 years of yoga. That to me is inspiring. Hugs

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  9. I just returned from a hot class– haven’t been to one in months– and was thinking of you. 5 days in a row– that’s commitment. Mostly I like the Y– and not heated. As far as fear– it’s hard to get past it with some of those arm balances etc. that for me I’ve accepted as a bridge too far. Bravo to you! I’ve been practicing yoga for 30 years– before my first son was born! Yikes!

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  10. Yoga is such a great metaphor for life! I love that it connects us to our inner wisdom and helps us to accept whatever thoughts and feelings come up. Rising to a personal challenge is part of the yoga journey too. Take yourself to the edge and let go my friend. You will find your self in this space – I did 🙂

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  11. I have not tried yoga. My daughter-in-law is an addict and says I should try it.
    Great to see you enjoying yoga and letting go of fear.

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