Breathing is one of the few things you will do for your entire life. We don’t need to think about it most of the time but we know is something we can control if we want. At this moment I am on the floor, I can feel my body exhausted. I am breathing deeply with an intense but constant pace. I have no control of it.
This scenario is repetitive during my week. It is an addictive but healthy sensation that reminds me I am alive. My body goes beyond the limits my mind can set. The ideas in my mind are simple and clear. At least for couple hours I will not overthink everything; my anxiety will not tell I’m going to die. This box (crossfit gym) is my lab where everything I feel is my preparation for the real world. A workout of 1K Row, 40 pistols, 30 toes to bar, 20 handstand pushups, and 10 muscle-ups is as equal as my thesis at school or my life in a unfamiliar country: It can suck, I can hurt but it will be over. There is no external help in any case. It is only my mind, my body and me.
I leave the box joyful. The cold is refreshing body that is headed by the blood running. My body is slowing down because it is time to walk, to go somewhere else. No thoughts, this is the moment for my senses. I breathe the cold air, I see the sterile blue sky and I hear silence in mind and the life outside of my body. I say to myself: It is cool to be alive!
When I get into the subway. I see the people coming in and out. What are their stories? Where are they coming from? What’s the reason she walking that way? Why is he wearing that blue hat with such pride? This is an interesting moment; totally different from the first commute of the day. It’s like I am more curious and about people’s life and less interest on judging them. My body and mind are working together in this assignment of feeling people’s energy. All the thought coming from my anxiety are gone for a moment. That feels amazing and relieving.
West 4st is the station I have to get off. I’m in the last car, so I can reach the exit faster and avoid the crowd. Two block south and two blocks east and I get to the yoga studio. I know I’m crazy: my body is exhausted from crossfit, I joints are sore, my shoulders are screaming to go to bed, but my mind is still in “go for it mode”. I remember all those fitness ads about fighting your own monsters, go beyond your limits and everything used to sound like jargon for me couple years ago, now I'm feeling it. My mind is telling me to do more and I accept.
It is time to get in class; I’m wearing the same outfit I wore for crossfit except that now I am barefoot. I set my yoga mat on the wood floor and lay down. I can feel the weight of my muscles and how the blood pumps from my heart. I’m telling to myself – “Take it easy Rodrigo, this class is just for stretching”. It’s time to start and I realized the instructor is someone I haven’t taken a class. Erica says we have to seat in a comfortable position and we start.
“Let’s set an intention for our practice today”- I’ve heard that many times. I have dedicated my practice to my parents, my lovely grandma. I’ve dedicated yoga to myself and also to the joy of being able to be in love. All of them are positive and beautiful dedications. Ok, it’s yoga and maybe that the way it is suppose to be. However, this time something weird happens. I realized my body decides to FEEL after crossfit, and I mean to really be aware of the present, and the sensations I’m feeling. In this moment of serenity, I say to myself – “Let’s try something different today” – If my body was able to deal with such an intense workout, why my mind cannot face a do the same. What you’re reading now is the manifestation of one microsecond in my mind at that time. I dedicated my practice to everything and everyone who made something negative to me in the past. People who hurt me and the only thing I did was hiding the pain. The faces I’ve called miserable. All of them! At that moment I was in peace, I haven’t felt that sensation, ever. I don’t know where is it in my body; I just know is such a quiet relief. It’s like silence; something my mind is not used to. Flash out! The peak of the sensation is gone, I try to catch it but it is impossible.
What did I feel? Why nobody told me you could feel that? I’m just not thinking the way I usually do. I listen the asanas and do them. The pain of tendons or the muscles stretching is delicious. My fibers are fluid. I can bend over my legs and interlace my fingers under the soles of my feet. I’m 26 years, the last time I did that I was 19. I feel joyful during the entire practice just because I decided to set that unworked intention.
When you’re a thinker your mind is a gift. When you think you’re smart your thoughts are your nightmare. When your thoughts are your anxiety, your body suffers. When you just stop thinking and let it go, you’re just you. When you find the simplest in yourself you’re grateful. Every day, I’m trying to catch that microsecond again. Is that what people say is the illumination? I don’t know. Maybe I had a mini taste of heaven. I have to share it now.