Root Down to Rise Up: What I Learned from a Yoga Class on Lake Michigan by Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
I’ve tried yoga at several different points in my life with several fantastic instructors. I’ve been open to yoga and all it has to offer, and yet it has never fully worked for me. I have both back and neck issues which seem to prevent me from comfortably doing certain poses, which then affects my comfort level, both physical and emotional. I’ve also never been able to fully relax and clear my mind. I know it’s not exactly a zen moment if I’m lying there thinking about whether or not or my kids have clean underwear for school tomorrow.
However, this past weekend I went to Chicago for a 30Seconds meet-up with our team and some of our inspiring contributors, and we took a class with yoga instructor Mary Aulbach on Lake Michigan, and I had an entirely different experience. Mary’s class was the gentlest form of yoga I’ve taken. It included more stretching than poses, and she emphasized the importance of, and focus on, breathing above all else. This freed me up to relax and be in the moment.
Taking a yoga class outdoors was a new experience, too, and this particular location was unique and special; we could hear the wind blowing through the trees and the water crashing against the rocks below. This environment, coupled with Mary’s soothing voice and gentle guidance, contributed to a feeling of peace and stillness for me, something that I rarely experience.
Mary said something during the yoga session that really resonated with me: “We have to root down to rise up.” We can all interpret this for ourselves, but it inspired me to think about what grounds me and how it will help me to move forward and accomplish my goals and “breathe in” (as Mary would say) what I want to breathe in (releasing what I need to release). In stressful moments, when life is moving too fast and I can barely keep up, I want to remind myself to stay grounded, to “root down.”
What keeps you rooted? How do you stay rooted in order to rise up?