by Sarah Spech
Recently, Molly and I went to Smale Park to do yoga in the evening. For both of us, this was a huge step into the uncomfortable. For me, I had to not only begin practicing yoga again–but do it in public. Doing yoga in the park allows me to be both outside in the fresh air and sunshine, and also practice yoga, which heals my body, mind, and spirit. It’s the best of both worlds.
Even though it was my idea, I knew that the only reason I wasn’t turning around was that Molly was walking next to me with her mat into the park.
As she lead us through different poses, I struggled to pay attention to my breathing and my current self. The noises around me–kids yelling, dogs barking, feet running on concrete, bells chiming, cars passing–all called to me, vying for my attention. The world was literally moving around me, and it was my job to find the center within myself even through it all.
Focus, especially sustained focus, has been a barrier between me and many spiritual activities like meditation, yoga, and silent prayer.
I found in that park that I could more easily notice when I lost focus and draw myself back in. Rather than getting lost within my own head, I was being distracted by external stimuli. The physical separation between my mind and the distractions helped me to bring myself into myself.
It’s still a challenge to center within myself and focus on the present moment of simply being instead of the many responsibilities competing for my attention all day. But this practice has finally given me a space to exercise that ability.
It’s a moment of peace. It’s acknowledging the world but making time for myself within its chaos.